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Rome Reports

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Music in concentration camps: the process of replaying songs from the Holocaust

Francesco Lotoro is a musician who has made it his life mission to gather, play and archive these songs....thousands of songs, forever linked to one person, one journey, one story of life in captivity. Most were Jews, but not all. ;Francesco LotoroAuthor, KZ Musik Project“Some of the musical productions were also written by Catholics, Protestants, men with religious or national affiliations who were held captive.”The songs were played in several concentration camps all over Europe from 1933 to 1945. Everywhere from Germany to Italy and even Russia. Francesco LotoroAuthor, KZ Musik Project“The first question that comes about is, how could one play music in concentration camps? Could one live in relative tranquility there? The paradox here is that the answer is yes and no.”Lotoro says, songs were played among prisoners themselves. Other times, the music was performed for the Nazis. Everything from jazz, to religious music, instrumental tunes and even choir. Francesco LotoroAuthor, KZ Musik Project“Concentration camps took away people?s liberty, but they also gave musicians a strange form of liberty. Within ; the confines of four walls, a Jew was free to create, play music, and even kid around.”The notes were often scribbled in random sheets of paper, sometimes even on tissue. After traveling all over Europe, gathering this music for over 22 years, Lotoro and his team have released a series of musical volumes titled KZ Musik. The booklets are in Italian, English and German. It?s something that started off as a mission, but quickly turned into a passion. Francesco LotoroAuthor, KZ Musik Project“This music will be appreciated by future generations, ; 50 years from now. They won?t see this music as a novelty, but rather as legitimate cultural enrichment.”He says, for some musicians the music was a type of testament. Now, he looks forward to the day, when the music isn?t refereed to as “music from concentration camps,” but rather only as ; beautiful music.