Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Holocaust Survivor Band Plays Klezmer

Musical Memory

Holocaust Survivor Band: Joshua Z. Weinstein writes (“Holocaust Survivor Band;” May 2, 2019) for The Atlantic: “Saul Dreier and Reuwen ‘Ruby’ Sosnowicz, both Polish nonagenarian Holocaust survivors, endured dramatically different circumstances during World War II. Dreier survived three concentration camps; in one, a cantor created an impromptu choir in the barracks, and Dreier learned to play drums by banging two spoons together. Sosnowicz spent the war in a barn among cattle, hidden by a Polish farmer. Afterward, he took up the accordion to pass the time in a displaced-persons camp in Germany. The men didn’t cross paths until retiring in Boca Raton, Florida. In 2015, they formed a klezmer band, based on the musical tradition of their childhoods as Ashkenazim in Eastern Europe. They decided to call themselves the Holocaust Survivor Band. Joshua Z Weinstein’s short documentary Holocaust Survivor Band is an amusing portrait of these men, for whom music has played a cathartic and redemptive role over the years.” The redemptive aspects of music are important, but likely not as important as the freedom to play what you want, to play the kind of music that you find uplifting or cathartic or inspirational or fun. Freedom is always important; and in the most dire circumstances, music can undoubtedly offer such freedom, even if it is short-lived. The post-war acceptance of liberal democracy has been considered one of the fundamental tenets of western democracy, with all its attendant human rights and freedoms. This has always been viewed as a victory over totalitarianism. This makes current trends worrisome—the increase and acceptance to the point of normalization of extreme right-wing ideology and illiberal populism in many parts of the world, including in some long-time liberal democracies and more recent ones, too.
Via: The AtlanticYoutube