An Auschwitz cellist addresses the German Bundestag

An Auschwitz cellist addresses the German Bundestag


norman lebrecht

February 02, 2018

The indefatigable Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, 92, classically understated and drily humorous, recounts her family’s life under the Nazis this week in Berlin to a silent, absorbed parliament and Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as schoolchildren and other guests.

Even if you don’t understand a word of German you must watch this speech.

‘Who could have imagined that we would leave Auschwitz alive, and not as smoke?’

Click here to watch.

And please share.


  • Robert Holmén says:

    If there is ever an English translation of her comments, a link would be welcome.

  • erich says:

    A truly wonderful woman – an absolutely invaluable ‚Zeitzeugin‘. Her dignity, her eloquence and her courage should be a beacon for future generations to listen, learn and never allow the same ghastly mistakes to be made. Deeply moving.

  • Jim says:

    Thank you for making this available for viewing. Very moving

  • Brian says:

    Here is a wonderful woman who survived the horrors of Auschwitz and gave a powerful speech in the Bundestag, and some people in the audience have nothing better to do than to check their smartphones and other devices.

    This kind of behaviour used to make me angry; now it just saddens me.

    Thanks for the link, Norman.

  • Melisande says:

    Thank you for the link to the Bundestagrede by the 92 years’ young Anita Lasker-Wallfisch. A speech that provides insight in the past as well as hope for the future. Extremely moving.
    Mrs. Wallfisch’s son, Rafael Wallfisch, the renowned cellist like his mother, later on played a piece from the collection “Aus jüdischen Leben” by Ernst Bloch.
    I also discerned the presence of the French cellist Renaud Capuçon.
    A deep bow for this courageous woman.

  • Nigel Goldberg says:

    In a world so full of BS, alternative facts, fake news, ego, self obsession and the rest, Anita’s voice, so full of truth and with such calm dignity is an example to us all.

  • Anon says:

    Never again. We are one humanity and shall never let us be divided along man-made artificial racial, religious or ethnical lines again. Tribalism should be in our past, a primitivism that must be overcome.

  • Father Hennepin says:

    Once more, a fool diminishes the Holocaust by trying to relate it to massacres more recent that have not enough in common to justify comparison. A mass killing is not a Holocaust. Neither is tribal warfare.

    • BillG says:

      My first thought was, just let this one slip on by, Then I was reminded of this.

      The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
      – H. L. Mencken

      Emphasis on the last.

    • Anon says:

      Certainly the format here is not suited to have this discussion. But only that much: In it’s essence, in its intention, the mass murder of the European Jews by the Nazis was in fact tribal warfare. It ‘only’ differed in the means, 20th century industrial means were used, which again lifted that genocide to a never before seen quality level, based on it’s sheer quantity and its systematic and rational approach to a most irrational foundation.
      It’s comparable to other systematic genocides, which doesn’t mean it’s the same in all aspects.

    • Una says:

      Rwanda? Hardly a little war either.

    • Nick2 says:

      Lady/Ladies and Gentleman/Gentlemen
      This petty discussion on the distinction between different forms of genocide diminishes the reason for this thread and does a disservice to the message so eloquently conveyed by the courageous Ms. Lasker-Wallfisch. The Holocaust was a particular form of genocide, an horrific, barbarous attempt to wipe out an entire race. We must learn from it and pray the world never sees its like again. Sadly, though, man’s inhumanity to man continues to result in various forms of genocide, from those described above to what we are seeing today in Myanmar and the killings, rapes and expulsions of an entire ethnic group which happens to be of the Islamic faith by those belonging to the Buddhist faith. Surely if there is one lesson the world should have learned from the Holocaust is that it must never be allowed to happen again. We have not learned. We still hide our heads in the sand as the blood flows. Shame on us!

    • Anon says:

      A holocaust is in its original sense a religious sacrifice by burning. It’s first mention is in the Hebrew bible’s translation to Ancient Greek about 200 B.C. when Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaak to him in a ‘Holocaust’.
      Many Jews prefer the term ‘Shoah’ over the somewhat not fitting term ‘Holocaust’ for this ‘limited words evading’ genocide of the 20th century.