Sing, Memory

Makana Eyre


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WW Norton & Co
23 May 2023
ISBN: 9780393531862
352 pages

From the publisher

On a cold October night in 1942, SS guards at Sachsenhausen violently disbanded a rehearsal of a secret Jewish choir led by conductor Rosebery d'Arguto. Only one of its members survived the Holocaust. Yet their story survives, thanks to Aleksander Kulisiewicz. An amateur musician, he was not Jewish but struck up an unlikely friendship with d'Arguto in Sachsenhausen. D'Arguto tasked him with a mission: to save the musical heritage of the victims of the Nazi camps. In Sing, Memory, Makana Eyre recounts Kulisiewicz's extraordinary transformation from a Polish nationalist into a guardian of music and culture from the Nazi camps. Aided by an eidetic memory, Kulisiewicz preserved for posterity not only his own songs about life at the camp, but the music and poetry of dozens of other prisoners. Drawing on extensive archival research, Eyre tells this rich and affecting human story of musical resistance to the Nazi regime in full for the first time.