For more than a decade, Italian pianist Francesco Lotoro
has been on a unique and important quest, uncovering, and bringing to the masses, music of all varieties, that was composed and even performed in concentration camps during the Holocaust.
“This music is part of the cultural heritage of humanity,” explains Lotoro. “When I started seeking out this music, my interest was based on curiosity, on passion. I felt that someone had to do it – and that someone was myself. Today it has become a mission.”
So far, Lotoro has collected more than 4,000 pieces of what he calls “concentrationary music”.
And, to ensure that the music was heard by as many people as possible, Lotoro put together an orchestra which played the various works before he began recording it.
Earlier this year, he released a 24-CD set called “KZ Musik”, also known as “The Encyclopedia of Concentrationary Music.”
“People continued to create despite being in those places,” marveled Lotoro. “These composers felt that the camp was probably the last place they would be alive, and so they made a will, a testament. They had nothing material to leave, only their heart, only their mind, only the music. And so they left the music to future generations. It is a great testament of the heart.”
Lotoro, who felt a kinship with Judaism since his teens and converted to Judaism in 2004, believes that his work is far from over.
“How many works are still out there that I haven’t found?” he asks. “How many works am I missing? How many will I be able to save?”
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life