Who would have believed that we would ever leave Auschwitz alive?

Who would have believed that we would ever leave Auschwitz alive?


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2018

The cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch repeats her address to the Bundestag at the Wigmore Hall – this time in English:

Lecture starts at 22:30.


  • The View from America says:

    She is an inspiration to all — simple as that.

  • Melisande says:

    When at the age of 93 one has the strength and will to tell audiences the truth about (personal) history and the inhumanly consequences thereof and at the same time sends a warning for the frightening development of nowadays politics worldwide, you can only feel humble and indeed even be more inspired to fight for insight and truth.
    Mrs. Lasker-Wallfisch not only deserves a Nobel Prize, but many years in good health, great respect and happiness.
    Mr. Gilhooly’s idea of programming Raphael Wallfisch and John York in works by Bloch, Ravel and Korngold gave the lecture a poignant depth.
    A heartfelt thank you.

  • John Adams says:

    The place does exist but it was probably a holiday complex or barracks for an army but all this gas chamber rubbish please stop telling lies its not right.

    Anyway the Jews killed Jesus gods only son so reep what you sow.

  • John Adams says:

    I’m not racist but what goes around comes around and one day the truth about this so called concentration camp will come out. Its all made up I’ve been there you can tell by looking at the stuff that its all fake and been put there to try make people feel sorry for something what never happened.

    • Ray Evans-Nixon says:

      You’re just a misinformed fool without a shred of intelligence. History can of course be anything you choose, but your denial is more to do with ignorance and hate spoon fed so it’s easier to believe. If anyone is lying about the Holocaust it is you and those people you might in some deluded way feel a perverted affinity with. Just because you and your racist culture decide something did not happen does not mean you are correct, it simply means you prefer a different version, probably for your own nefarious reasons, however answer a simple question, if like you suggest the Holocaust never happened where do you suppose the six million dead actually went ? Madagascar ?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      You are not racist? No, you’re something worse.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      Obviously a member of Momentum and the Labour Party, they have of course, history on this topic!

  • simonelvladtepes says:

    It is very difficult for survivors to speak about their experiences. I admire anyone who does, it is very painful.

    My mother and her family were interned in a concentration camp during the war. They all survived, somehow. Neither my mother nor anyone from her family ever said a word about their experiences. As a child, I thought it was forbidden to speak about it. I think my father told me not to ever bring it up in front of mother “because she likes to whine” – but I’m not sure if he really said that or if it is a false memory of my mind filling in the blanks of silence as a child. 10 years ago I sat with her at a restaurant with my partner, who isn’t Jewish, and he asked her about it – she froze and just started crying. Not a word.

    I learned a little of what transpired where they were interned from a patient of mine who was interned in the same camp, but getting anything out of him was also a struggle, and I later learned he didn’t tell me half of it. It did not help him to talk about what transpired. I never ask anyone about past traumas because I believe it is harmful to the victim to talk about it. If they want to bring it up I’m there to listen. It’s well supported by research that digging up traumas is often harmful, but clinicians can’t accept this in practice.

    • Sharon says:

      As a psychiatric nurse I agree with you. Many believe that bringing up “buried” past traumas will help people deal with it and improve mood and behavior in the future.

      That has not been my experience. People who are forced to discuss past traumas just end up ruminating on them, become depressed and generally cannot seem to get past the trauma.

      People have defense mechanisms, such as repression, to help us live our lives productively. Some defense mechanisms are positive.

      • Malcolm Kottler says:

        I urge you to read both the “Foreword” and “Introduction” to Anita Lasker’s book “Inherit the Truth, a Memoir of Survival and the Holocaust.” She discusses the question of survivors being asked about their experience.

  • Helene Kamioner says:

    the true story of my father who was interned in the forced labor camp in the Czestochowa Ghetto in Poland


  • Lydia Wahlberg says:

    For John Adams,
    You are not a racist?!
    A very important name in history is wasted on you.

  • Melisande says:

    Wigmore Hall’s director John Gilhooly is to be commended for conceiving this bold event. “After I saw Anita Lasker-Wallfisch’s address to the Bundestag, I felt it had to be heard in London… This is such an important message to hear, as history has shown, time and again, that where anti-Semitism, racism and extreme views are on the rise, dark times are usually never far behind.“

    The beginning of an article in Classical Source that says it all!

    And it shows again that a person, called John Adams (sic), is among us.

  • Wotan says:

    In 1955 I was 15 and, being fascinated by wireless and electronics generally, had wheedled my way into the workshop of the local radio shop. It was owned by a regular soldier who left the army in 1954. Being the 10th anniversary of the end of the Second World War various films were shown in the local cinema and on television, one of which was of the relief of Bergan-Belsen. I happened to say to him that I had seen the film and how dreadful it must have been there. He said “you have no idea”. I, of course, asked him what he meant. He didn’t say much except that as they marched toward the place there was an overwhelming stench and, having entered the camp some of the soldiers broke rank and ran to one of the piles of bodies because there saw movement and they thought that there were people alive in it. There were not, of course, it wasn’t life that caused the movement. This is, as it were, “from the horse’s mouth”. I have no reason to doubt what he said and can think of no reason why he should have made up the comments.

    I am not Jewish nor am I a racist; I was (and hopefully) still am reasonably intelligent and was brought up in the Church of England and was required to attend Sunday school and sing in the choir. But, when I was much younger than 15, I began to question things which seemed to me to have little basis in fact. One such was the sentiment generally held that, to quote a Derbyshire uncle, “It’s all the fault of them Jews”. He meant that they had been responsible for the war. It made me feel uncomfortable; I couldn’t see how a small minority (I’d never come across a Jewish person so believed that they were few and far between) could possibly be responsible. I now know that I was right. At the turn of the 19th-20th century less than 1% of the population of Europe was Jewish and many Jewish soldiers fought and died on both sides in the First World War.

    As a besotted devotee of the Music of Richard Wagner I do have to face a problem, one that was touched upon when Steven Fry was in discussion with Anita Lasker-Wallfisch before his visit to Bayreuth a few years ago: how to reconcile the man with the music?

    Everyone should read her book “Inherit the Truth, 1939-1945”. She is a most remarkable woman and not mainly because she happened, by very good luck, to survive the Holocaust. I’m pleased that her Wigmore Hall speech is on YouTube. I have listened to her address to the Reichstag but my German isn’t good enough fully to appreciate it.

    On Tuesday 17th July she will be 93. Happy Birthday Anita.