Ironically, Joseph Schmidt enjoyed his greatest successes during the rise of the German Nazis, who subsequently prohibited Jewish artists and writers from working. In 1937, he toured the United States and performed in Carnegie Hall together with other prominent singers such as Grace Moore. He was still very much welcome in the Netherlands and Belgium, where he was immensely popular.
In 1939, he visited his mother in Czernowitz for the last time. When the war broke out that year he was caught in France by the German invasion. He attempted to escape to Cuba but, unfortunately, this failed. After making a dash for the Swiss border, he was interned in a Swiss refugee camp in Girenbad near Zürich in October 1942. He had already been in frail health, and was treated for a throat infection at the local hospital. Schmidt had complained of chest pains, but for some reason this was dismissed and he was discharged on 14 November 1942.
Just two days later, on November 16, 1942, while attempting to recover at the nearby Waldegg inn, the famous singer collapsed. The hostess let him rest on her couch, but not long after, she noticed that he was no longer breathing. Schmidt had suffered a heart attack. He was only 38 years old. He was to have been issued a work permit the following day, so he would have been able to move freely within Switzerland.
Joseph Schmidt - Tiritomba