On Sunday, November 13, 2011, about 60 musicians of the IDF orchestra arrived in Beit Theresienstadt for a special study day. The main subject was music composed and played in ghetto Theresienstadt, in an atmosphere of distress, hunger and fear of transports. The orchestra players, with their conductor Lieutenant colonel Michael Yaaran and the commander, major Kobi Chayim, visited the exhibitions of our museum and listened to the moving testimony of Hanka Drori, who told them about her participation in the children’s opera “Brundibar” performed in the ghetto many times, including during the visit of the delegation of the International Red Cross in June 1944. Hanka also related that as a 12-year old girl she “turned the pages” for the conductor Rafael Schechter during rehearsals of Verdi’s “Requiem”.
Dr. Michael Wolpe lectured on the background of Central European music, classical and other, disrupted almost forever under the Nazi regime and how it was expressed in the ghetto by outstanding composers like Viktor Ullmann, Gideon Klein and others; and also about cabaret music and its role in the prisoner’s life in the ghetto.
At the conclusion of the study day the IDF unit presented Beit Theresienstadt with its emblem, hoping for continued cooperation since the subject awoke the interest of the young musicians. Some of them use to accompany IDF soldiers at memorial ceremonies on trips to extermination camps in Poland.