Jac Olten a.k.a. Alfred Mihiel

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Radicchio » 03/25/12 11:58 AM

I've joined this forum to get in touch with the people I noticed had done some research on Jac Olten, a.k.a. Alred Mihiel.

I am a direct descendent of Jac Olten. I'm interested in comparing what I know from my own family with what others have discovered through historical research or by talking to other magicians who worked with him.

Please contact me here or off-forum.
Radicchio
 
Posts: 7
Joined: 03/25/12 11:46 AM

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/25/12 04:53 PM

Hi Radicchio, I've done some research on Olten. I'd love to learn where and when he died. Rumor had it that he came to the US and worked for a hotel chain, but I wasn't able to confirm this. My interest stemmed mostly from his activities during the second world war. Helmut Schreiber (later better known as "Kalanag") got him out of a prison camp for enemy aliens near Munich circa 1940 (working from memory here) and got him permission to perform in Germany during the Third Reich. After the war, Olten wrote a letter testifying to Schreiber's intersession on his behalf. Some have claimed that Olten was Jewish and have taken Schreiber's actions as proof that he was not sympathetic with the Nazi agenda, even though he eventually joined the party and profited from his close association with high ranking Nazis (Goering and Goebbels, not to mention Hitler himself). I have been unable to confirm that Olten was Jewish and suspect he was not. Mihiel is not a Jewish name. An early German article about him (pre-war, I believe) mentions that he was a relative of the great Spanish magician, Frakson. I don't believe Frakson was Jewish. Of course, the claimed relationship may have been publicity on Olten's part. I'd be interested in any information on him you can provide and am happy to share what I have (lots of mentions in the German magical press before and during the war). He worked with Kalanag on at least one occasion after the war (a performance in Nice, I believe) and I believe his gratitude for the favors he had received was sincere.
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1594
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Radicchio » 03/25/12 05:48 PM

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your reply.

At first, I suspected that the story of my grandfather's internment in a prison camp might have been publicity (to glamorize the relationship between him and Kalanag / Schreiber). However, there is some historical evidence to support the story: I have found his name (given as "Alfred Mihiel", his legal name) on a document relating to POWs detained in Germany. Neither of my great-grandparents was Jewish on that side of the family; his internment may have been related simply to military service of some kind.

Unfortunately I can't confirm or deny the Frakson story, but I believe that it is most likely a fiction, because Frakson never appeared in my family's (extensive) discussions of our genealogy.

As I heard it, the origins of the name "Mihiel" are as follows: my great-grandfather (Olten's father) had been abandoned on the proverbial church steps, or at an orphanage of some kind, as a baby. He was "found" on the day of Saint Mihiel. The Catholic institution that took over his care gave him the saint's name as a family name. In contrast with these humble origins, my grandfather sometimes gave himself the title of "Count" in his stage appearances.

I will contact you off-forum, and look forward to continuing the discussion.
Radicchio
 
Posts: 7
Joined: 03/25/12 11:46 AM

Postby Radicchio » 03/25/12 06:36 PM

A further note, since a couple of people have asked: my grandfather, who was born in 1913, died more than fifteen years ago (around 1995) in Florida. By that time he was estranged from our family in France.
Radicchio
 
Posts: 7
Joined: 03/25/12 11:46 AM

Postby Joe Pecore » 03/26/12 05:16 PM

Did you know Jac Olten was on the cover of "The Gen" (September 1959)?
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.
User avatar
Joe Pecore
 
Posts: 1755
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Northern Virginia

Postby Joe Pecore » 03/26/12 06:58 PM

There is now a page for Olten on MagicPedia if you would like to correct or add to it: http://geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/Jac_Olten
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.
User avatar
Joe Pecore
 
Posts: 1755
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Northern Virginia

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/26/12 08:57 PM

Joe, two typos in the Wikipedia entry: World War II (not I) and "camp" (I haven't learned how to edit entries yet!).
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1594
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Joe Pecore » 03/26/12 09:40 PM

Thanks! I updated.

You must be logged in to make edits. Just click the "edit" tab at to top, make any changes, and then "save page". All changes are preserved, so it's easy for me to "rollback" to previous versions if you mess anything up too bad. So don't be afraid to jump in and try it out.

- Joe
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.
User avatar
Joe Pecore
 
Posts: 1755
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Northern Virginia

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/26/12 09:44 PM

Thanks, Joe, will do!
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1594
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah


Return to Magic History and Anecdotes