Former Auschwitz Cellist: “Anti-Semitism is a 2,000 Year-Old Virus”

May 8, 2020

According to the AFP, one of the last living members of the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, is still raising her voice to protest hatred against Jews. Yet, for years Lasker-Wallfisch kept silent. 

Lasker-Wallfisch was imprisoned at both Auschwitz and at Bergen-Belsen, where she was liberated 75 years ago.

Lasker-Wallfisch was born in 1925 into a Jewish family in Poland and sent to Auschwitz in 1943 while still a teenager.

Already a talented musician, she was able to join the Auschwitz’s orchestra for women and girls as a cellist, something she believes saved her life. 

Lasker-Wallfisch was forced to regularly play marches for slave labourers on their way to and from work each day, and for the SS guards. But the memories of her time in the concentration camps left her apprehensive to speak about her history. 

“I didn’t want to overwhelm my children with my terrible past, I wanted to leave it behind,” she told AFP.

Still, Lasker-Wallfisch claims she owes her life to music. Music is also what led her back to Germany after 40 years, when she began to speak out about her experiences with anti-Semitism and in the Holocaust. .

Since then Lasker-Wallfisch has repeatedly warned of the dangers of anti-Semitism and discrimination. In January 2018, on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, she delivered a cautionary oration to the Bundestag.

At the German parliament she warned onlookers that hatred of Jews and Holocaust denial were making an unthinkable comeback. 

”Anti-Semitism is a 2,000-year-old virus that is apparently incurable,” she said.

Read more: https://www.france24.com/en/20200508-the-long-silence-of-the-auschwitz-cellist