Earlier this week, I was listening to the BBC World Service Newshour, and I was filled with indescribable emotion when they interviewed holocaust survivor, Aviva Bar-On.
Aviva was nine years old when she was sent to the Theresienstadt “camp-ghetto.”
When Aviva had fallen ill, the poet Ilse Weber, who was a nurse at Theresienstadt, had taken care of her.
Ilse sang songs she wrote while taking care of her patients in the infirmary. Aviva said that Ilse had disappeared, and she later found out that Ilse was sent to the gas chamber at Auschwitz.
During Aviva’s interview with the BBC, she sang one of the songs Ilse wrote and said, “I think I am the only one in the world that knows these songs.”
Aviva performed some of Ilse’s songs at the Notes of Hope Concert in Israel on April 15, 2018.
The concert was conducted by Professor Francesco Lotoro. Lotoro has spent more than three decades collecting over 8,0000 pieces of music written by concentration camp prisoners. This concert was the first time that this music was performed in front of an audience.
Although I was unable to find an article about this on the BBC’s site, I did find a video that contains interviews with Aviva Bar-On and Professor Francesco Lotoro. You can also hear some of the music performed at the concert. You can watch the video, here.