You can read about the Jewish women, who were forced to play in an orchestra as Jewish prisoners were marched into the gas chambers, in this article in The Star online newspaper.
The headline of the article is
Sheffield play looks at strange true story of Auschwitz orchestra
The following quote is from the news article in The Star:
The extraordinary story of an orchestra of women who were forced to play music in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz is told in Playing for Time, which is at the Crucible Theatre next week.
The story is based on the memoirs of star cabaret singer Fania Fenelon, played by Sian Phillips, who was forced to join the orchestra like the other women.
They had to perform for their SS captors and also as fellow prisoners were led to their deaths in the gas chambers.
An orchestra, consisting of 54 female prisoners, played at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp for a year and a half; this was the only female orchestra commissioned by the SS during World War II. After the women’s orchestra leader, Alma Rosé, died in October 1944, the other 53 women were sent to Bergen-Belsen, where all of them survived.
Anita Lasker Wallfisch played the cello in the women’s orchestra. In an interview in 2008, Wallfisch told a reporter that she survived Auschwitz because she was in the orchestra: “As long as they wanted an orchestra, they couldn’t put us in the gas chamber. That stupid they wouldn’t be, because we are not really replaceable. Somebody who carries stones is replaceable.”
As far as I know, Anita Lasker Wallfisch did not say that she was forced to play in an orchestra. She wanted to play in an orchestra; no one put a gun to her head.
When I started blogging 5 years ago, my first blog post was about Tadeusz Borowski, an Auschwitz prisoner who wrote a book entitled This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. In that blog post, I wrote: “As the victims marched to the gas chamber, there were other privileged prisoners playing soccer, as well as the prisoners in the camp orchestra who would be practicing for a concert in another nearby field.”
I also wrote about the orchestras that played at Auschwitz-Birkenau, as the prisoners marched to the gas chamber, on this blog post.
An orchestra played near the soccer field at Auschwitz-Birkenau, as the prisoners marched into the Auschwitz III gas chamber, which is shown in the photo below.
The news article in The Star continues with this quote:
[The women] had to perform for their SS captors and also as fellow prisoners were led to their deaths in the gas chambers.
Israeli-born Noa Bodner plays Esther, a harmonica player.
She said: “She doesn’t say much. She is quite a competent musician, she’d like to think. When she does intervene and talks she is very gritty.
“She speaks almost like a politician. She is really trying to get the others to understand the importance of continuing the Jewish lineage. She is quite proud she is a Jew.
“The way she looks at the Germans, they are not quite human, they are monsters. She thinks, ‘we are the chosen people and I am proud to be one, regardless of those monsters’.”
Did you catch that, dear readers? The Jews are proud to be Jews; the Germans are “not quite human, they are monsters.” The Jews are the “chosen people” and the Germans are “monsters.” The Germans are not quite human and they will always be hated and reviled — until the end of time.