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Auschwitz Survivor Teams Up with Rappers to Keep Memory of the Holocaust Alive [VIDEO]

Esther Bejarano, one of the last survivors of the Auschwitz Girls' Orchestra, is currently on tour in Germany with hip hop duo Microphone Mafia

By: Daniel Koren
Published: November 6th, 2013 in News » World
Microphone Mafia perform with Holocaust survivor Esther Bejarano

In Toronto, this week is Holocaust Education Week, dedicated to teaching the city's residents, old and new, of the atrocity that was the Holocaust via artistic installations, lectures, and the like.

Halfway across the world, in Germany, three unlikely partners have come together with the same objective in mind.

As a member of the Auschwitz Girls' Orchestra, a group of Jewish musicians who were forced to play music while trains full of Jewish prisoners arrived at the concentration camp during the Holocaust, 86-year-old Esther Bejarano has been playing music essentially her whole life.

In 2010, we covered the story that saw Bejarano team up with a hip hop/rap duo to spread an anti-racist message to German youth.

Now, one of the last survivors of the orchestra is on tour in Germany with rappers Microphone Mafia, to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, and educate the young generation of this terrible occurrence in human history, so such systematic genocide will never occur again.

Currently touring in Germany, Bejarano and her new young partners (Kutlu Yurtseven and Rossi Pennino) look to merge two generations of music into one with this common goal of teaching others about the Holocaust.

"I decided to go with the rappers because now it is very modern to reach young people," Bejarano said in an interview with Jewish News One. "Nobody until now has done something like this, that an old woman like me goes together with rappers."

"It is certainly a bit different from what I normally do," she added. Answering the question that I'm sure is on all of you're minds, Bejarano confirms: "I am not rapping. The two boys are raping and I am singing. They are making very wonderful speeches."

Though, she admitted that it was a tad 'weird' at the beginning, the three quickly realized that this unlikely collaboration has the opportunity to make a significant difference in people's lives.

"It’s very interesting and very good, because we also want to show that young people and older people can be together, can work together and live together," she says. "I have been in the concentration camp, I have been in Auschwitz and I’m strictly against the Nazis, and I hope that the Holocaust will never be forgotten. We should never forget what happened then and we want to explain what happened, and therefore I'm doing the concert."

According to Microphone Mafia's official website, the music they are presenting alongside Bejarano is a blend of klezmer pop, oriental sounds and hip hop, aiming to create "a better future and a better world, with heart and mind."

Related articles: Auschwitz, Holocaust, Auschwitz Girls' Orchestra, Microphone Mafia, Jewish News, World War II, Nazi, Esther Bejarano
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