60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
My hair was shaved, I got tatooted - this was done by other
prisoners. They asked me: "What did you do before Auschwitz?"
And I said something that saved my life: "I played the cello."
"Great", they said. I couldnt understand this. I am in
Auschwitz now: they play the cello here? Completely absurd.
Alma Rose came to me, Gustav Mahlers niece, she conducted the
camp orchestra, and said: "Wonderful, we need a cello. We
have got no cello player." [...] We had to play marches in
the morning when thousands of prisoners went to the factories
and when they returned at night. We rehearsed all day long
and learned new pieces. We were the show piece, you see.
When someone visited the camp they were lead to our block.
[...] We lived very near to the gas chambers, Block 12. We
saw everything. [...] Once I had to play Schumanns Traumerei
for Josef Mengele - quite a very musical person as you can
see. Oh, we knew who he was. We knew everything.