Holocaust Music Lost & Found, Inc. (HMLF), a new nonprofit organization, has been launched to rescue, preserve, and perform music composed by an untold number of musicians imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps. Despite the horrific conditions they experienced, they found the courage and inspiration to write and perform music, most of which has never been heard.

In commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Music Lost & Found announces its outreach to find survivors, families, communities, and organizations in the U.S. who might have this music – encoded on material of all kinds, such as notebooks, toilet paper, telegrams, or handed down by heart.

Holocaust Music Lost & Found is supporting Maestro Francesco Lotoro, a pianist, composer and conductor who founded Fondazione ILMC in Barletta, Italy, and has dedicated the past three decades to recovering, studying, archiving, performing, recording, and promoting thousands of works produced in concentration, extermination and civil and military imprisonment camps. HMLF, which was created to support Lotoro’s efforts in the U.S., will also educate about the Holocaust and the power of survival through the medium of music. The organization’s future plans include producing educational programs and concerts of the recovered music.

Janie Press, president of the new organization, was inspired by the story about Maestro Lotoro that appeared on CBS 60 Minutes in 2019. Press, a fashion industry veteran and cabaret singer, states that “As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles with each passing year, our goal is to share these stories by finding them, performing them, and educating the world on the beauty that can come within chaos and destruction and how the preservation of the human spirit can uplift us.”

Lotoro travels around the world, and meets with Holocaust survivors identified through research, outreach, educational programs and performances. Recently, he found Dita Kraus in Israel. She delved deeply into her musical memory from Theresienstadt and Birkenau, eliciting a variety of melodies, which he was able to transcribe and archive. In Miami, Lotoro found Saul Dreier, who started the Holocaust Survivor Band. At 95, he plays percussion to sold-out concerts of Yiddish songs. Dreier provided Lotoro with songs and niggunim composed in the Paszów labor camp and Mauthausen concentration camp, an enormous musical treasure that will now be preserved.

Lotoro said, “It’s wonderful that we have found a partner in the US that can help us in our urgent quest to find the vast music literature that was written in captivity during WWII. Music that proliferated in the camps is one of the most important legacies of human history. The 8,000 scores that I have found so far are only a small part of a what we must continue to search for.” He added, “We need to give back to humanity this heritage so that it can regain its rightful place in the history of music.”

To aid in music recovery, education, performance, visit www.holocaustmusiclostandfound.org

 

About The Publishers
Holocaust Music Lost and Found
Raises funds to support the search for music composed in Nazi concentration camps, provides Holocaust education resources, and sponsors concerts of recovered music.
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