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  Cape Town Holocaust Centre > Events > Surviving History


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Brundibár's Ela Weissberger Speaks

"When we sang, we forgot where we were. We forgot hunger, we forgot all the troubles that we had to go through." - Ela Stein Weissberger.

Ela Stein was 11 years old when she was sent to the Nazi camp, Terezín in February 1942.

Music became a vehicle of resistance and a repository of hope in Terezín. The Brundibár score was smuggled into the camp. Ela was cast as the Cat, and performed in all 55 performances. This was not the case for many of the other children - there were frequent cast changes as the Nazis sent children away from Terezín - most to their deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Ela, her sister and her mother were finally freed on 5 May 1945. After the war, Ela lived in Israel and later moved to Brooklyn, New York where she lives today.

Ela has never forgotten her experience of performing in Brundibár. She continues to travel around the world to attend performances of the opera, and to share her memories of Terezín with audiences of all ages. "I speak in the voices of those who couldn't make it. I speak so we can remember them."

Ela will attend some of the performances, give a pre-performance talk on 19 July, the public lecture at Cape Town Holocaust Centre on the 24th and will share her experiences with Herzlia and other schools, and attend workshops that will be held during the performance week.

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