During a three-year span (1941-44), 140,000 Jews, most of them Czech, German, and Austrian, were imprisoned at Terezin (known to German authorities as Theresienstadt), near Prague. Although the Nazis claimed that prisoners were well treated, more than 30,000 died there and most of the remainder were deported to other camps, particularly Auschwitz. Only 14% of the Jews who passed through Terezin survived the war.
Many of the prisoners at Terezin were scholars, artists, and musicians, and so long as they remained there they were productive. In her concert on April 13, Rachel Joselson, an associate professor of voice at the University of Iowa, will perform some of the songs that were composed at the camp. All of the composers of these songs perished in the Holocaust.
Professor Joselson will also perform several numbers from the Holocaust Lieder, composed by Norbert Glanzberg. Glanzberg was a Polish Jew who spent most of his career in France. He composed a number of songs for the legendary Edith Piaf, and the two were romantically involved for many years. During World War Two, Piaf helped to hide him from German occupiers. In his later years, Glanzberg composed in a Classical style, and during this phase he wrote music to accompany poetry written by Jews who suffered, and most often died, in the Holocaust. These were his Holocaust Lieder.
The pieces performed by Professor Joselson will be sung in their original language, but the audience will receive translations and notes. Professor Joselson will be accompanied on piano by Professor Réne Lecuona, a colleague of hers at Iowa and a celebrated musician.
A CD of Holocaust songs performed by Professors Joselson and Lecuona will be available at the close of the event. This concert is included in the Music à la Carte series and as such is co-sponsored by the School of Arts and Communication.