Aviv Geffen sets Holocaust love letters to music

'Villages of Love' is part of the Shem Olam NGO's musical project for this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day

Aviv Geffen 'Village of Love' (photo credit: Courtesy)
Aviv Geffen 'Village of Love'
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ovadia and Aliza Baruch met each other in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The pair, both Greek Jews, smuggled notes to each other for months while imprisoned and tortured.
On Tuesday, singer Aviv Geffen released a single based on the love letters written by the pair and by other couples who clung to love during the Holocaust.
His new song, “Villages of Love,” was released as part of an initiative by the NGO Shem Olam, which works to educate younger generations about the bravery of those in the Holocaust.
“We’ll hold hands/ We’ll think as a couple,” Geffen sings. “One glance is enough/ For you to know what I’m going through/ You brought me quiet/ Rest for my soul/ Which often cries/ Which is often lost/ And only you know how/ To gather the broken pieces.”
Geffen said he was drawn to the letters and poems written by couples amid the horrors of the Holocaust.
“What caught my eye were the love poems that Holocaust victims hid for each other, that taught us that even in moments of pure hell, people found comfort in love and hung upon it hopes, even in impossible places like the ghetto,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “Holocaust songs always deal with death and with cruelty, but never touch the village of love that they built secretly, between the fences of death.”
Shem Olam is working with a variety of Israeli artists to release Shoah-inspired songs ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is marked this year on May 2. Over the past month, the NGO has released songs by Yonatan Razel and Nasreen Qadri, and more are slated to come from Noa Kirel, Mosh Ben-Ari, Ninet and others.
“‘Villages of Love’ is a song about adhering to love and hope even in the most difficult times,” Shem Olam said Tuesday. “You have to hear it.”