Inge Ginsberg, Death Metal Grandma + Holocaust Escapee, Dies at 99
Death metal grandma and holocaust escapee Inge Ginsberg has died at 99. Ginsberg became a beloved figure on the metal world when she discovered metal music in her 90s and formed a metal band called Inge & the TritoneKings.
Inge & the TritoneKings exploded onto the metal scene when Ginsberg was 93. They released a video for “Totenköpften” (Laugh at Death), which references the frontwoman’s escape from the Holocaust during World War II. The Austrian-born woman didn’t just escape to a Swiss refugee camp as the war broke out, but she also helped pass messages between Italian resistance fighters and the American O.S.S. (which later became the CIA).
93yo Metal Grandma Holocaust Survivor Spy! "Totenköpfchen" (Laugh at Death) -Swiss Eurovision 2015
Ginsberg and her husband, Otto Kollmann, moved to Hollywood after the war ended and made a career writing songs for artists like Nat King Cole, Doris Day and Dean Martin. In 2018, Inge became the subject of a New York Times documentary focused on her metal forays late into life.
"In American, and even European culture, old people are excluded from life....Nobody really cares what you have to say,” Ginsberg said. "My concept of Heaven and Hell is that in the moment of death you realize your life was full and good - that's Heaven. And if you think, 'Oh, I should have done this or that,' I think that's Hell."
Friend and bandmate Pedro da Silva revealed to the New York Times that Ginsberg passed away from heart failure.
We’d like to offer our deepest condolences to Inge Ginsberg’s loved ones during this difficult time. May she be remembered fondly for her bravery and decades-long contributions to music.