A DRAWING from ‘What the Night Sings’ depicting the barracks in Bergen-Belsen.
(photo credit: VESPER STAMPER)
Gerta was only 14 when the Nazis took her and her father away, and life as she knew it was over. Until that day she did not even know that she was Jewish. Gerta lived in Würzburg, Germany with Papa and her stepmother Maria, who together filled her world with music. Papa, who played viola in the Würzburg orchestra, was teaching Gerta how to play the instrument. Maria was an opera singer and directed the children’s choir that Gerta joined. She loved to sing and didn’t go to school because she was tutored at home – music was her life and she believed that the changes happening in the world outside her door would never touch her. She felt loved and safe with Papa and Maria, and although she missed her mother, who died in Köln (Cologne) when she was younger, Gerta’s memories of her mother were fading.