The Nazi The Opera and The Red Cross

Job #2969

Job Posting Details

Job # 2969 The Nazi The Opera and The Red Cross

Posted Date
Feb 16, 2007 @ 17:42
Respond By
Sep 16, 2007
Word Count
0
Language
English
Gender
Female
Age Range
-
Category
Documentaries

Job Description

Market Size> Theatrical
Artistic> Caring voice.
Voice something close to Meryl Streep

Every summer, a remarkable reunion takes place in these lush mountains in the Czech Republic. A group of friends come together from all over the world. They have one thing in common. They all grew up in the shadow of death in a concentration camp outside of Prague. They grew up quickly.

Helga Kinsky and her friends couldn’t bring themselves to speak about the horror for a full forty years.

HELGA KINSKY: Because actually whatever you did, you didn't have the right to live. You were-- you were sentenced to death. And it is something you can't get over.

Their friendship began here in Therezinstadt, a transit camp. From here. . . a garrison town before the war. . Jews were sent off to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Nearly 140,000 Jews from all over central Europe passed through here including many of Europe’s most prominent artists. . . . who left a record of what it was like. Much of the art has survived, some of it by children. They portrayed how cold and crowded they were, sleeping thirty to a room. Typhus epidemics swept through the camp. The dead were brought to catacombs before being incinerated. Bodies were carried on the same wagons used for bread. Jews weren’t gassed here but more than thirty thousand died of disease and hunger.

Music flourished in the camp. It was like a Julliard for Jews. There were classes and concerts in cellars and attics. The hottest ticket in town was a children's opera called Brundibar. . which was written by a Czech Jew and smuggled into the camp. It was performed fifty five times by children in Therezinstadt

It’s a fairy tale of sorts, the story of a young brother and sister who with the help of a cat, a dog, a bird and the children of the village defeat an evil organ grinder named Brundibar. The opera ends with a victory song. . .

Back in the camp, the Nazis filmed this performance in 1944. The lead role, the part of Brundibar was played by a boy named Honza Treichlinger. He’s the kid with the mustache.

Ella: Everybody loved him. And everybody adored him.

Back then, Ella Weissberger played the cat.

ELLA WEISSBERGER: I wore my sisters ski pants and my mothers sweater. Bright sweater. //this was my costume.

Wearing a costume was a relief from what Ella and the other kids had to wear all the time in the camp.

ELLA WEISSBERGER: This was the only time that they said we don’t have to put on the Jewish star. A couple of minutes of freedom.

A couple of minutes of freedom for Ella the Cat.

EVA GROSS: All I can hear and see is Ella, never stopping to sing the-- the cat . So we all sang the cat in the end.

Eva Gross was nineteen at the time. She taught the children.

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