Tuned in to something extraordinary

When the world collapsed for Josef Žamboki in 1941, he moved on – without missing a beat – to create a new one.

July 27, 2017 16:54
Zamboki Jozef

Jozef Zamboki . (photo credit: ARIEL WEISS)

‘Music has charms to soothe the savage breast,” noted English playwright William Congreve (1670- 1729). In Josef Žamboki’s case, it was far more than that – it was a lifesaver.

Žamboki was born in Belgrade, which then was in Yugoslavia, in 1932. He was the youngest of three children and his early childhood passed as all healthy childhoods should. But everything changed when he was nine years old, when Nazi Germany invaded in April 1941. Within a short space of time the youngster’s world collapsed around him. His father and older brother were taken away to carry out forced labor. He never saw them again. A few months later he, his sister Roza, mother and grandmother were sent to Sajmište, a fairground on the outskirts of Belgrade that was turned into a concentration camp under the direct supervision of the German occupation administration.


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