Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Complete Seder Night Music Guide

First we start with the Simonim song, Kadesh Urchatz, which summarizes the order of the Mitzvot and Minhagim of the night. 

 listen to the Nussach of Kidush for Leil Pessach

Then we move to the Ma Nishtano, the kids songs.

Then we move to Avodim Hayinu, the beginning of the Hagada.

Next is one of the most famous Hagada songs: Vehi Sheomdo, 'which is still so meaningful and relevant.

Then comes Dayeinu.

At the end of the Hagada we recite the first part of the Halel. Here are two uplifting Betzet Isroel songs.

     Before we Bench Birkat Hamazon we sing Shir Hama'alot.

 After Birkat Hamazon and Shfoch Chmoscho we recite the second part of the Halel. 

 Hashem Zchoronu from Chazzan Yossele Rosenblat. This is one of the first ever recorded music compositions. 

listen to Mo Oshiv [it starts around 1:30 time mark].

 hear the entire Halel Nussach from R' Shlomo Carlebach

 Then we get to the song that announces the official end of the Seder: Chasal Sidur Pessach. after, we sing the prayer that kept the Jews hopeful throughout the diaspora: Leshono Habo'o.

 Then we move to the after Seder songs.

First, we start with the Adir Hu song.

 Then we continue to Echod Mi Yode'a.

 And we finish with Chad Gadya.

 Six13 singing the Passover song [a cover to Usher's song]

 Frank Sinatra's version to The Passover Seder Symbols Song

 An overview of Chassidic Pessach music

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jewish history museum in Warsaw unveils exquisite reconstruction of synagogue ceiling

Jewish history museum in Warsaw unveils exquisite reconstruction of synagogue ceiling

(Czarek Sokolowski/ Associated Press ) - People look at the the painted ceiling of a reconstructed wooden synagogue that dates back centuries during a presentation of it to the media in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday March 12, 2013. The reconstructed ceiling and roof of the 17th century synagogue is a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a major institution due to open next year in Warsaw.
  • (Czarek Sokolowski/ Associated Press ) - People look at the the painted ceiling of a reconstructed wooden synagogue that dates back centuries during a presentation of it to the media in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday March 12, 2013. The reconstructed ceiling and roof of the 17th century synagogue is a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a major institution due to open next year in Warsaw.
  • (Czarek Sokolowski/ Associated Press ) - The painted ceiling of a reconstructed wooden synagogue that dates back centuries, photographed in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday March 12, 2013. The reconstructed ceiling and roof of the synagogue is a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a major museum due to open next year in Warsaw.
  • (Czarek Sokolowski/ Associated Press ) - Boaz Pash,right, a rabbi based in Krakow,Poland, looks along with others at a the painted ceiling of a reconstructed wooden synagogue that dates back centuries, in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday March 12, 2013. The reconstructed ceiling and roof of the 17th century synagogue is a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a major institution due to open next year in Warsaw.
  • (Czarek Sokolowski/ Associated Press ) - Maria Piechotka, right, a Polish architect who has studied old wooden synagogues in Poland, pulls a chain as a reconstructed synagogue roof is lifted a few inches symbolically during a media event in Warsaw, Poland, on tuesday March 12, 2013. The reconstructed ceiling and roof of the 17th century synagogue is a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a major institution due to open next year in Warsaw.
  • (Czarek Sokolowski/ Associated Press ) - People look at the the painted ceiling of a reconstructed wooden synagogue that dates back centuries during a presentation to the media in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday March 12, 2013. The reconstructed ceiling and roof of the 17th century synagogue is a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a major institution due to open next year in Warsaw.
  • (Czarek Sokolowski/ Associated Press ) - Visitors look at the the painted ceiling of a reconstructed wooden synagogue that dates back centuries during a presentation to the media in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday March 12, 2013. The reconstructed ceiling and roof of the 17th century synagogue is a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a major institution due to open next year in Warsaw.

WARSAW, Poland — A Jewish history museum in Warsaw has unveiled a reconstructed synagogue roof with an elaborately painted ceiling modeled on a 17th-century structure, presenting the first object that will go on permanent display in the highly awaited museum.
The wooden roof and ceiling will be a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is due to open next year in the heart of the city’s former Jewish quarter. Reporters in Warsaw were invited to view it Tuesday.

The museum will tell the story of Jewish life in Poland, a complex history spanning 1,000 years, but one that has been forgotten today by many people and which is often overshadowed by the Holocaust.
The story will unfold largely with high-tech multimedia installations, but the reconstructed synagogue roof is a tangible object produced with the tools and techniques that were used when the original structure was first erected in the 1600s.
The ceiling is a rich panoply in milky blues and brownish reds of zodiac signs and animal symbols, along with inscriptions in Hebrew. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, the program director of the museum’s core exhibition, said some of the animals express Messianic yearnings prevalent in Polish Jewish communities after a period of wars and destruction in the 17th century.
“It’s a heavenly canopy,” Kirshenblatt-Gimblett said. “It’s celestial. It’s literally the heavens and the world to come.”
The animals include a red bull and a leviathan — a serpent-like sea monster — wrapped around Jerusalem. The iconography refers to stories saying that when the Jewish Messiah comes, there will be a banquet for the righteous where they will feast on the flesh of the red bull, which is a monster, and the leviathan. It was said the leviathan’s skin would wrap itself around the city of Jerusalem and give off light.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett said the reconstructed roof, with its “visualization of mystical texts, of prayer, of Messianic yearning,” will allow museum visitors to experience the spirituality of the time.
“This represents the spiritual richness of Polish Jews,” she said. “It says that they were not only people of the book in the literal sense of text, but that they had a rich visual imagination.”
The roof is the reconstruction of a 17th-century synagogue that underwent renovation in the 18th century in Gwozdziec, a town formerly in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that is now in Ukraine. It was burned down during World War I; after that war, its reconstruction began, but it was then destroyed again during World War II.
The wooden structure and the painted ceiling are typical of the many other synagogues built in the region in that age, an architectural legacy wiped out by wars and destruction, mostly in World War II, when the Nazi Germans overran the area, killing millions of Jews and destroying their houses of worship.
Museum developers and others say they expect the Museum of the History of Polish Jews to become one of the world’s pre-eminent Jewish history museums, along with Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Poland was once home to the world’s largest Jewish community, and the museum is aimed at recalling the complex relationship between a vibrant Jewish community and the land where it made its home for centuries.
On the eve of World War II, there were about 3.3 million Jews in Poland, about a tenth of the overall population. Ninety percent of them were killed by German forces in the Holocaust and some of the survivors fled postwar violence and persecution by Poles. Over the past 30 years, the Jewish population in Poland has grown from just a few thousand to more than 20,000, according to Jewish officials.

Jewish Zodiac

1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
You're a healer, nourishing all whom you encounter. We feel better just being in your presence. Mothers want to bring you home to meet their children - resist this at all costs. Compatible with Bagel and Knish.
1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
You've got a devious personality, since you're made with neither eggs nor cream. Friends find your pranks refreshing; others think you're too frothy. Compatible with Blintz, who also has something to hide.
1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
People either love you or hate you, making you wonder, "What am I, chopped liver?" But don't get a complex; you're always welcome at the holidays! Bagel's got your back.
1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Creamy and dreamy, you're rightfully cautious to travel in pairs. You play it coy, but word is that, with the right topping, you turnover morning, noon and night. Compatible with Schmear.
1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Working class with a grating exterior, you're a real softie on the inside. Kind of plain naked, but when dressed up you're a real dish. Compatible with Schmear's cousin Sour Cream.
1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
You're pliable and always bounce back, although you feel something's missing in your center. If this persists, get some therapy. Compatible with Schmear and Lox...Latke and Knish, not so much.
1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
You're the perfect sidekick: friends love your salty wit and snappy banter, but you never overshadow them. That shows genuine seasoning from when you were a cucumber. Marry Pastrami later in life.
1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
You blend well with others but often spread yourself too thin. A smooth operator, you could use some spicing up now and then. Compatible with Bagel and Lox. Avoid Pastrami - wouldn't be kosher.
1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Brisket's hipper sibling, always smokin' and ready to party. You spice up life, even if you keep your parents up at night. Compatible with Pickle, who's always by your side.
1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Kids love you, but make up your mind! Are you black or white? Cake or cookie? You say you're "New Age," all yin & yang. We call it "bipolar." Sweetie, you're most compatible with yourself.
1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Flaky on the surface, you're actually a person of depth and substance. Consider medical or law school, but don't get too wrapped up in yourself. Compatible with Pickle. Avoid Lox, who's out of your league.
1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
Thin and rich, you're very high maintenance: all you want to do is bask in the heat, getting some color. Consider retiring to Boca. Compatible with Bagel and Schmear, although you top them both.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Irena Sendler

This 91 minute fascinating movie is about the true story of an amazing person.
Irena Sendler ,15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008, was a Polish Catholic social worker who served in the Polish Underground and the Żegota resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II. Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and with housing outside the Ghetto, thereby saving those children from being killed in the Holocaust.
The Nazis eventually discovered her activities, tortured her, and sentenced her to death; but she managed to evade execution and survive the war. Late in life she was awarded Poland’s highest honor for her wartime humanitarian efforts and also was nominated for (but did not win) the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. She appears on a silver 2009 Polish commemorative coin honoring some of the Holocaust-resisters of Poland.

The Curious History of Kosher Salt

The Curious History of 
Kosher Salt
How a Jewish Product 
Cornered Culinary Niche
By Rachel Tepper

Consider kosher salt: large, flaky, white grains that dissolve slowly in cooking. If you like to cook, you probably have a box of Morton or Diamond kosher salt in your cupboard, and if you are a chef, a small mountainous peak is likely sitting in a crock that you keep within arm’s reach in the kitchen at all times. It is one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in the cooking world — but it’s also one of the most misunderstood: All salt can be kosher (if it’s produced under kosher supervision) but not all kosher salt is kosher.
Salt has been used since ancient times to preserve food, and Jews have used it since the time of the Temple to remove blood from meat or “kasher” it, according to Gil Marks, author of the “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.” Specifically large-grain salts were used as they could be washed from the meat’s surface without making it too salty.
Despite its status as a luxury product elsewhere in the ancient world, this type of salt was abundant in ancient Israel. The salt mines and salty seas of the region helped establish it as a center of the salt trade.
The term “kosher salt,” however, is a 20th-century American construction. “Jews were obviously using the product long before,” Marks said. “It’s not really ‘kosher salt’ — it’s koshering salt.” Up until the 1950s (when packaged kosher meat became available) kosher-keeping home cooks purchased this coarse salt to use in their kitchens to remove blood from the meat they served to their families.
The word came into public consciousness when companies sought to cash in on the wave of Eastern European Jews who immigrated to the U.S. at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. At the same time, the American market moved from purchasing their ingredients (including salt) by the pound, out of large barrels, to buying packaged goods that started appearing on the shelves after World War I.
“Certain companies started marketing to Jews,” Marks explained. At first these were Jewish companies, including Rokeach and Manischewitz; later, non-Jewish companies, including Diamond and Morton, picked up on the trend.

Diamond advertised their kosher salt product repeatedly in the Yiddish Forverts in the 1920s, and Morton went so far as to produce boxes labeled in Yiddish to appeal to the Jewish market. These types of boxes were marked “kosher salt” rather than “koshering salt,” and the new term stuck.

Still, it wasn’t until much later that kosher salt was marketed outside the Jewish community. That came in the late 1960s, according to Mort Satin, the vice president of science and research for the trade organization, The Salt Institute. (Satin goes by another name, as well: the “Salt Guru.”)

Beginning then, “the only superlative in salt talk was kosher salt,” he wrote in an email to the Forward. Chefs began to favor it because its large grains and slowness to dissolve lent a light crunch to dishes. Kosher salt also lacks the additives often found in table salt, like iodine, which many chefs say imparts an unpleasant flavor.

Satin is certain the word “kosher” also lent an air of exoticism to some ears, which furthered its popularity. But how did kosher salt transition from tucked-away restaurant kitchens to the spotlight? Food television, Satin posited.

“So much of TV cooking is visual,” Satin reasoned. “Shaking a little salt shaker could not compete with dipping into a bowl of kosher salt and casting the large, very visible salt crystals across the dish like Toscanini waving his baton across the orchestra. Flair, panache… magic.”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lecha anu shira • Choni Grunblatt

Jewish life in Russia circa 1920-1930

Betty Klein performs excerpts 3-13--13

Israeli singer Betty Klein performing Jewish folksongs in Ladino, Yiddish, Hebrew, and other Jewish languages at a house concert in Newton, MA, on March 13, 2013.

 Betty Klein.
American-born, Israeli singer, Betty Klein studied with Martha Schlamme at Mannes College, graduated with a BS from Boston University, MS from Columbia University and continued studies at Hunter College and Montclair State College. She performed throughout the New York area until moving to Israel. She participated in the Akko Music Festival, Folk Festival at Horshat Tal and the Llangollen Eisteddfod, Wales in 1990 where she won the 2nd prize in the solo folk singing competition. Ms. Klein has appeared on the BBC, Belgian TV and radio programs, on Israeli TV and radio. Her Ladino, Yiddish and Hebrew concerts have been broadcasted as well as recorded in albums. She has performed extensively in Europe in both Jewish and general venues, including festivals, universities, and the Vatican. She also performs as an accompanist to Shuly Nathan and with the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra. In 2003 she received the prize for music composition with the FestiLadino (International Ladino Song Festival).

ריקוד האש - הלב והמעיין The Fire Song

Classic Jewish Song Played at Weddings and Celebrations

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ellis Island: A brief history of the place where so many Jewish immigrants entered the U.S.

Ellis Island

A brief history of the place where so many Jewish immigrants entered the U.S.

But the history of this unimposing bit of land began way before that. Native Americans named it Gull Island after the seabirds that flocked there. The governors of Nieuw Amsterdam bought it in 1630, renamed it Little Oyster Island and proceeded to harvest shellfish. When pirates were executed there it became Gibbet Island.
In 1808, when it was still owned by the Ellises, the defense-conscious federal government bought it for $10,000 and it became a fort. But the Ellis name remained.
After the War of 1812, the island was used for munitions storage until 1890, when the House Committee on Immigration decided that it offered the perfect alternative for the problem-fraught Castle Garden immigration station where prospective new citizens slept on the floor, went hungry, and were routinely cheated by money-changers and other con artists.

Immigration Center Opens

Two years, $500,000, and a lot of landfill later, a splendid Georgia pine arrivals building topped by a quartet of turrets opened its doors. The first immigrant to step inside was 15-year-old Annie Moore from County Cork, Ireland. She was followed by about 700 more newcomers that day alone--450,000 the first year. Then the numbers decreased until 1900 because of tightening immigration laws, a cholera scare, and the economic depression that began in 1893.
In December 1900, a palatial new arrivals building--of fireproof red brick and sculpted limestone, adorned with elegant ironwork and festive towers--was inaugurated. To the steerage passengers (first- and second-class passengers proceeded immediately to the mainland) emerging from weeks trapped in mobbed, dank, filthy, noisy, stinking, disease-ridden quarters, it was truly a vision of hope and promise.

New immigrants waiting to be discharged from Temporary Detention Room,
Discharging Division, Ellis Island, New York City.
Photo: American Jewish Historical Society.
Unfortunately, the ethics of some of the people employed here were not as fine as their surroundings. Currency exchange rates and prices of railroad tickets and food were inflated; bribes were demanded; rudeness and cruelty were rampant. But in 1902, a new commissioner of immigration instituted drastic reforms, heralded by signs everywhere demanding "kindness and consideration."
Still, the average immigrant, exhausted and unable to speak or understand English, quaked at the prospect of getting the door to the New World to open, the "hundred forms and ceremonies, grindings and grumblings of the key," as Henry James decorously put it.
Even the kindest and most considerate person in uniform could appear terrifying. "We were scared of uniforms," a Russian Jewish woman recalled. "It took us back to the Russian uniforms that we were running away from." And there were so many questions--about "character, anarchism, polygamy, insanity, crime, money, relatives, work," as Washington Irving wrote. What seemed like the right answer could be the wrong one. For instance, saying "yes" to "Do you have a job waiting?" could get you detained or deported since contracting for foreign labor was illegal. On top of everything else, unsophisticated refugees were easy marks for swindlers and even white slavers lurking at the docks.

Helping Jewish Immigrants

East European Jews faced a special problem. After a journey that may have outlasted their kosher food supplies, they discovered that Ellis Island had none to offer them. Kosher food wasn't provided until 1911. But the founding of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in 1902 by a group of Russian Jews, recent arrivals themselves, improved conditions considerably.
At Ellis Island and at other ports of entry, HIAS representatives served as mediators and interpreters for the immigrants, found them housing, and fed them until relatives or friends showed up, searched for relatives and friends who didn't show up, and put in all-nighters scouring the late editions of newspapers for jobs.
During Ellis Island's peak years, 1904 to 1909--1907 was the biggest year of all--the HIAS mediator was Alexander Harkavy, better known as the compiler of a famous Yiddish-English dictionary.
World War I brought the influx of newcomers almost to a halt. But the decline in the island's population turned out to be a blessing. When saboteurs blew up munitions-loaded cargo at Black Tom Wharf on the New Jersey shore, none of the 500 immigrants and 125 employees was seriously hurt, although the blasts were heard all the way to Philadelphia.

End of an Era

Immigration picked up after the war, but restrictive laws of 1917, 1921, 1924, and 1929 slowed it to a trickle. During World War II, the island doubled as a detention center for enemy aliens and spies. At the end of 1954, when only 21,000 people came through, the immigration center was closed. The island became a Coast Guard station. In 1965, it was taken over by the National Park Service and made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.
In 1982, Lee Iacocca was asked by President Ronald Reagan to head a fund-raising campaign to restore Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The Main Building, brilliantly transformed into the Ellis Island Immigration Museum at the high cost of $170 million (the largest restoration of its kind in American history) welcomed its first visitors on September 10, 1990. Preservation of the other buildings on the island continues.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/Collection of Eugenia Hochberg Lanceter
A group of Jewish women at the entrance to the Brody ghetto in Eastern Galicia, 1942. The sign is written in German, Ukrainian and Polish.
THIRTEEN years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.
What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.
The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.
The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington.
“The numbers are so much higher than what we originally thought,” Hartmut Berghoff, director of the institute, said in an interview after learning of the new data.
“We knew before how horrible life in the camps and ghettos was,” he said, “but the numbers are unbelievable.”
The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.
Auschwitz and a handful of other concentration camps have come to symbolize the Nazi killing machine in the public consciousness. Likewise, the Nazi system for imprisoning Jewish families in hometown ghettos has become associated with a single site — the Warsaw Ghetto, famous for the 1943 uprising. But these sites, infamous though they are, represent only a minuscule fraction of the entire German network, the new research makes painfully clear.
The maps the researchers have created to identify the camps and ghettos turn wide sections of wartime Europe into black clusters of death, torture and slavery — centered in Germany and Poland, but reaching in all directions.
The lead editors on the project, Geoffrey Megargee and Martin Dean, estimate that 15 million to 20 million people died or were imprisoned in the sites that they have identified as part of a multivolume encyclopedia. (The Holocaust museum has published the first two, with five more planned by 2025.)
The existence of many individual camps and ghettos was previously known only on a fragmented, region-by-region basis. But the researchers, using data from some 400 contributors, have been documenting the entire scale for the first time, studying where they were located, how they were run, and what their purpose was.
The brutal experience of Henry Greenbaum, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor who lives outside Washington, typifies the wide range of Nazi sites.
When Mr. Greenbaum, a volunteer at the Holocaust museum, tells visitors today about his wartime odyssey, listeners inevitably focus on his confinement of months at Auschwitz, the most notorious of all the camps.
But the images of the other camps where the Nazis imprisoned him are ingrained in his memory as deeply as the concentration camp number — A188991 — tattooed on his left forearm.
In an interview, he ticked off the locations in rapid fire, the details still vivid.
First came the Starachowice ghetto in his hometown in Poland, where the Germans herded his family and other local Jews in 1940, when he was just 12.
Next came a slave labor camp with six-foot-high fences outside the town, where he and a sister were moved while the rest of the family was sent to die at Treblinka. After his regular work shift at a factory, the Germans would force him and other prisoners to dig trenches that were used for dumping the bodies of victims. He was sent to Auschwitz, then removed to work at a chemical manufacturing plant in Poland known as Buna Monowitz, where he and some 50 other prisoners who had been held at the main camp at Auschwitz were taken to manufacture rubber and synthetic oil. And last was another slave labor camp at Flossenbürg, near the Czech border, where food was so scarce that the weight on his 5-foot-8-inch frame fell away to less than 100 pounds.
By the age of 17, Mr. Greenbaum had been enslaved in five camps in five years, and was on his way to a sixth, when American soldiers freed him in 1945. “Nobody even knows about these places,” Mr. Greenbaum said. “Everything should be documented. That’s very important. We try to tell the youngsters The research could have legal implications as well by helping a small number of survivors document their continuing claims over unpaid insurance policies, looted property, seized land and other financial matters.
“HOW many claims have been rejected because the victims were in a camp that we didn’t even know about?” asked Sam Dubbin, a Florida lawyer who represents a group of survivors who are seeking to bring claims against European insurance companies.
Dr. Megargee, the lead researcher, said the project was changing the understanding among Holocaust scholars of how the camps and ghettos evolved.
As early as 1933, at the start of Hitler’s reign, the Third Reich established about 110 camps specifically designed to imprison some 10,000 political opponents and others, the researchers found. As Germany invaded and began occupying European neighbors, the use of camps and ghettos was expanded to confine and sometimes kill not only Jews but also homosexuals, Gypsies, Poles, Russians and many other ethnic groups in Eastern Europe. The camps and ghettos varied enormously in their mission, organization and size, depending on the Nazis’ needs, the researchers have found.
The biggest site identified is the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, which held about 500,000 people at its height. But as few as a dozen prisoners worked at one of the smallest camps, the München-Schwabing site in Germany. Small groups of prisoners were sent there from the Dachau concentration camp under armed guard. They were reportedly whipped and ordered to do manual labor at the home of a fervent Nazi patron known as “Sister Pia,” cleaning her house, tending her garden and even building children’s toys for her.
When the research began in 2000, Dr. Megargee said he expected to find perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos, based on postwar estimates. But the numbers kept climbing — first to 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500.
The numbers astound: 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers.
In Berlin alone, researchers have documented some 3,000 camps and so-called Jew houses, while Hamburg held 1,300 sites.
Dr. Dean, a co-researcher, said the findings left no doubt in his mind that many German citizens, despite the frequent claims of ignorance after the war, must have known about the widespread existence of the Nazi camps at the time.
“You literally could not go anywhere in Germany without running into forced labor camps, P.O.W. camps, concentration camps,” he said. “They were everywhere.”
so that they know, and they’ll remember.” 

Honoring 'Our Will To Live': The Lost Music Of The Holocaust

Italian musicologist Francesco Lotoro is on a decades-long mission to find and resurrect music composed by prisoners at camps before and during World War II. Here, he plays music in his home in Barletta, southern Italy.
Sylvia Poggioli /NPR
For the past two decades, in a small town in southern Italy, a pianist and music teacher has been hunting for and resurrecting the music of the dead.
Francesco Lotoro has found thousands of songs, symphonies and operas written in concentration, labor and POW camps in Germany and elsewhere before and during World War II.
By rescuing compositions written in imprisonment, Lotoro wants to fill the hole left in Europe's musical history and show how even the horrors of the Holocaust could not suppress artistic inspiration.
Lotoro's solitary quest began in 1991, with his first visit to a concentration camp. Since then, he has traveled from his native Italy to more than a dozen countries, searching through old bookshops and archives, and interviewing Holocaust survivors.
Lotoro displays a copy of music by Rudolf Karel, a Czech composer (in 1945 sketch at left) imprisoned by Nazis for helping the resistance in Prague, in a music shop in Rome, Feb. 22, 2007. Denied access to regular paper, Karel wrote his compositions down on toilet paper. He died of dysentery at the Terezin camp.
Plinio Lepri/AP
He has collected 4,000 pieces — original scores and copies of compositions — some scribbled on scraps of paper and even newsprint. His collection includes works by many non-Jews, Roma and even American soldiers held captive by the Japanese.
'They Wanted To Leave A Testament'
The self-effacing 48-year-old music teacher lives in a modest ground-floor apartment on the outskirts of the small Adriatic town of Barletta. The rooms are filled with bookshelves; musical scores are piled high.
Lotoro believes that whenever a human being is deported and imprisoned, music is born.
"I think is an almost automatic response to a situation of detention," says Lotoro. "They wanted to leave a testament; they leave to us music."
On his piano, Lotoro plays an excerpt from Nonet, a composition for nine instruments the Czech composer Rudolf Karel wrote in Prague's Pankrac prison.
"[The music] is like a telegraph — 'di-di-ti-ti di-di-ti-ti' — and at a certain moment I imagine this is a Morse code," Lotoro says.
As an anti-Nazi political prisoner, Karel was not allowed access to notepaper. But he suffered from dysentery and was able to use toilet paper to write down his compositions. In 1945, he died at the Terezin camp in Czechoslovakia.
Decades later, Lotoro tracked down pieces of the original score and has reconstructed it for the first time since Karel conceived it.
Some compositions were smuggled out of the camps and preserved by survivors. Others were simply found after the camps were liberated.
Austrian musician Viktor Ullman composed more than 20 operas while imprisoned by the Nazis. In an essay, he wrote: "By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon and our endeavor with respect to arts was commensurate with our will to live." He died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz in 1944.
Austrian musician Viktor Ullman composed more than 20 operas while imprisoned by the Nazis. In an essay, he wrote: "By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon and our endeavor with respect to arts was commensurate with our will to live." He died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz in 1944.
Courtesy of Francesco Lotoro
Lotoro's mission to find the lost music of the Holocaust was one reason he converted to Judaism in 2004; he later learned his great-grandfather was Jewish.
Lotoro has arranged and recorded 400 of the works he discovered. A selection was released last year in a box set of 24 CDs called Encyclopedia of Music Composed in Concentration Camps.
The compositions Lotoro has resurrected were written in conditions of intense suffering.
As he plays an excerpt of a piece by Viktor Ullmann, Lotoro notes the composer's anguish at not having enough time to complete his work, as well as the sense of urgency in the music.
Ullman, who studied with fellow Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg, has long been recognized as a prominent composer. Confinement in the Terezin camp made him prolific: In captivity, he composed more than 20 operas.
Lotoro quotes from an essay Ullmann wrote before he was moved to Auschwitz, where he died in the gas chambers in 1944: "By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon and our endeavor with respect to arts was commensurate with our will to live."
Artistry Amid Death, Profound Brutality
The Third Reich banned the performance of all Jewish music, from Mendelssohn to cabaret.
But at the camps — with the notable exception of the extermination camps — musicians were allowed a degree of artistic freedom. The Terezin camp was unique. It was an all-in-one ghetto, concentration and transit camp that the Nazis used as a cultural showcase to deceive the Red Cross and for propaganda purposes.
Frida Misul, a singer from Livorno, Italy, was deported to Fossoli and eventually was at Auschwitz. She survived World War II and died in 1992.
Courtesy of Francesco Lotoro
Terezin became a crossroads of contemporary music, Lotoro says, before its inmates were transferred to the gas chambers. The same day the Nazis killed Ullmann, they gassed a dozen other prominent musicians.
"In a few hours in Auschwitz, an entire generation of musicians, composers, famous piano virtuosos, the fifth column of the Jewish musical elite of Central and Eastern Europe disappeared," Lotoro says.
The compositions rescued by Lotoro cover the entire musical range: classical, folk, swing and some disconcertingly lively tunes.
For instance, a 19-year-old Lithuanian Jew in a camp in Riga, Ljowa Berniker, wrote a syncopated cabaret song, "Reischsbahlied" (Railway Song). Its carefree tone belies lyrics describing the miserable treatment of Jews in the camp.
Berniker died of exhaustion at the Stutthof camp in Poland in April 1945.
Bret Werb, curator of music at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, says it's not surprising prisoners could write upbeat tunes.
"For them, time had pretty much stopped at the time of their incarceration, and music became a great escape hatch for them," he says. "There are really hundreds, if not thousands of topical songs, original songs, in the style of light music, cabaret music, and so this is what these young people had in their heads."
By no means was all of the music composed in captivity the result of free expression. The Nazis often corralled musician inmates into orchestras at camps like Auschwitz and ordered them to perform while other prisoners were marched out for forced labor.
Or they forced inmates to write compositions.
At the Sobibor camp in Poland, when a cobbler named Shaul Flajszhakier of Lublin refused to beat other prisoners, he was beaten and ordered by the Nazi commandant to compose a song praising the camp's living conditions.
The song, "Fahijad," included these lyrics: "Our life is happy there. ... We receive food. ... How happy it is in the green forest, where I stay." According to scholars of Yiddish, the word fahijad in this song could be a disguised expletive to hide its real meaning from the German guards.
Documenting A Lost Chapter In Musical History
In many cases, compositions were never written down, but the melodies and lyrics were passed on from prisoner to prisoner. For example, in Israel, Lotoro tracked down the words of a tune sung by female prisoners at Auschwitz. Esther Refael, a Jew from the Greek island of Corfu, remembered by heart the lyrics written by her fellow Auschwitz inmate Frida Misul.
An Italian Jew from Livorno, Misul penned scathing new lyrics to the tune of what was then a popular polka in her song "Lagerue" — the Italianized form of Lagerruhe, the 8 p.m. curfew at Auschwitz announced with a whistle over the loudspeaker.
The female prisoners in block 31 defied the Nazi ban against "Lagerue" and sang that one day they would take their vengeance on the brutal guards at Auschwitz.
After two decades hunting for the lost music of the Holocaust, Lotoro is now deeply in debt. But he's determined to carry on what he sees as his life's mission — to right a historical wrong and help rewrite the history of 20th-century European music.
He also wants to demonstrate that the creative mind cannot be imprisoned even in conditions of brutality.
"The artist," he says, "is able to separate the external situation from the creativity that belongs to the mind, to the heart."

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