Rescued Musical Compositions of Holocaust Victims Released

JNF UK and KKL-JNF release Notes of Hope, a collection of musical works composed by Nazi death camp inmates. You can now watch the entire concert online.

January 29, 2019 15:27
2 minute read.
The Notes of Hope concert in Jerusalem in April 2018.

The Notes of Hope concert in Jerusalem in April 2018.. (photo credit: ODED ENTMAN/JNF UK)


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In April 2018, JNF UK and KKL-JNF hosted a concert in Jerusalem to mark International Holocaust Memorial Day and Israel’s 70th birthday. This monumental concert, entitled ‘Notes of Hope’ (Tavei Tikvah) brought to life the efforts of death camp inmates to preserve their humanity and continue to create, even in the face of the great horrors that were perpetrated against them and around them.

‘Notes of Hope’ is a collection of musical works composed by prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps, performed in an array of languages including Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Czech and Romani. The compositions were played to the public for the very first time at the Jerusalem concert hosted by JNF UK and KKL-JNF. Pertinently it was also on the 73rd anniversary of the day that the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated by the British.The Notes of Hope collection is the work of Italian maestro, composer and musicologist Prof. Francesco Lotoro, who had collected and brought to life the rescued work of death camp inmates. He had made it his life’s work to track down the music composed by prisoners in the camps and over a 30 year period, he salvaged over 8,000 musical works from across the world, composed in the most unimaginable surroundings in prison camps that included Auschwitz, Theresienstadt and Westerbork. He discovered music scores written in coal, and scrawled on postcards, walls, and doors. He even found a five-act opera written on toilet paper.

Professor Lotoro said: “The compositions from the camps are a world heritage, a legacy to those artists who despite losing their freedom - in the most unimaginable circumstances - persevered through their music. Through the Notes of Hope concert, we are striving to both restore life and dignity to these artists.”

The recital was performed by Israel’s Ashdod Symphony Orchestra and accompanied by young performers from the Bikurim Performing Arts School and Yerucham Conservatory, two projects supported by JNF UK for the benefit of Israel’s outlying communities in the Negev.

Pieces included Tatata, which was composed by Willy Rosen and Max Ehrlich just before their deportation from Westerbork to Auschwitz, where they were murdered. Rosen and Ehrlich managed to smuggle a folder of their compositions out of the death camp. Decades later, the folder was discovered in an attic in the Netherlands, and was about to be thrown away.

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2019 on Sunday the 27th of January, JNF UK has and KKL-JNF have now released the full recording of the Notes of Hope concert so that all can hear this poignant piece of work.

You can now stream the concert on the JNF UK website:

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