In something reminiscent of the actions of many Jewish families faced with sweeping anti-Semitism in Western Europe in the late 19th / early 20th centuries, one of the hottest current music artists has explained his unusual name choice.
His real surname is Scheller but you will only find him on the internet or in music magazines by his ‘stage name’ Oscar – and he is hugely rated according to BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac.
“It was for a few reasons, visually, and for cultural reasons: my surname is German-Jewish and there’s a lot of anti-Semitism in the world. I didn’t want to have any abuse thrown in my face. You just have to be careful, even in this day and age.”
In that earlier era, many Jewish refugee families fleeing persecution Westernised their surnames upon arrival in their new host countries as a means of attempting to deflect some of the consequences of anti-Semitism by demonstrating their integration or simply as a means of trying to hide their heritage.
Going without a surname is also particularly poignant in a week when UK newspaper headlines have been dominated by the Labour Party’s anti-Semitism row.
Read more about Oscar, his British childhood and musical background here.