Viktor Ullmann (1898–1944) was a Silesia-born Austrian composer, conductor and pianist.
Both his parents were from families of Jewish descent, but had converted to Roman Catholicism before Viktor's birth.
Beginning in 1909 Viktor attended a grammar school (Gymnasium) in Vienna. His musical talents and inclinations soon gave him access to Arnold Schönberg and his circle of pupils. Upon finishing school, he volunteered for military service.
In 1923 with the Sieben Lieder mit Klavier (7 Songs with Piano) he witnessed a series of successful performances of his works, which lasted until the beginning of the 1930s (Sieben Serenaden). At the Geneva music festival of the International Society for New Music in 1929, his Schönberg Variations, a piano cycle on a theme by his teacher in Vienna, caused something of a stir. Five years later, for the orchestral arrangement of this work, he was awarded the Hertzka Prize, named in honor of the former director of Universal Editions. In the meantime he had been appointed conductor in Zürich for two years. As a result of his interest in anthroposophy, a movement founded by Rudolf Steiner, he spent another two years as a bookseller in Stuttgart, but was forced to flee Germany in mid-1933 and returned to Prague as a music teacher and journalist.
On 8 September 1942 he was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
The particular nature of the camp at Theresienstadt enabled Ullmann to remain active musically: he was a piano accompanist, organized concerts ("Collegium musicum", "Studio for New Music"), wrote critiques of musical events, and composed, as part of a cultural circle including Karel Ančerl, Rafael Schachter, Gideon Klein, Hans Krása, and other prominent musicians imprisoned there. He wrote: "By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon. Our endeavor with respect to arts was commensurate with our will to live."On 16 October 1944 he was deported to the camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where on 18 October 1944 he was killed in the gas chambers.