Rabu, 05 Oktober 2011

Gesamtkunstwerk Macht Frei

The German word Gesamtkunstwerk is defined as the ideal work of art. Last night I arrived from Charleroi and immediately changed into a suit to attend a Chamber Music concert at the Luxembourg Theater. Annie Sofie von Otter was singing a series of song written by the inmates of Theresienstadt. The Nazis under SS Doktor Seidl transformed the old fortress into a model concentration camp to house the Jews of Czechoslovakia. Designed for 7000 soldiers Terezin was occupied by ten times that number 70,000. The camp was filled with the great minds and the Nazis guided the Red Cross on tours through this Potemkin clone to show that their munificient treatment of the Jews.The horrible conditions did not prevent the inmates from pursuing their crafts and last night the soprano along with her violinist, pianist, and bassist brought their souls back to life with music from Ilse Weber, Erwin Schulhoff, Karel Berman, and others. The musicians painted a tone poem of their efforts to remain human during the Nazis’ pretending to be humane. Only one of the night’s composers survived Terezin.The singer’s father had tried to inform the world about the death camps. He had received the information from a SS officer, Kurt Gerstein. died a suicide in French custody. His father was a die-hard Prussian, who wrote his son, "You are a soldier and an official and you must obey the orders of your superiors. The person who bears the responsibility is the man who gives the orders, not the one who carries them out."This philosophy was repeated by countless Nazis after the surrender.“We were only following orders.”Kurt Gerstein obeyed his soul. He died a suicide in French custody.There were good Nazis.But they weren’t in Terezin.The music of the dead haunts the future with the past.The last song WIR WERDEN BESTIMMT WIEDERSEHEN brought tears to my eyes.‘We will see each other again.’They walked as ghosts last night in Luxembourg.

I hope they were happy.

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