Our Will to Live
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In Terezín, a Nazi camp where 33,000 people died, imprisoned musicians and artists created a remarkable cultural community that persevered against all odds. Our Will to Live brings us into this astonishing world. It presents the first full translation of concert critiques written by accomplished musician, scholar-and Terezín prisoner-Viktor Ullmann. He describes Terezín performances by ensembles, youth choirs and solo artists including luminaries of European cabaret and opera, plus works by a generation of promising composers silenced too soon: Gideon Klein, Pavel Haas, Hans Krása and others. Paired with Ullmann's critiques are more than 250 rarely seen concert posters, programs, portraits and scenes rendered by imprisoned artists; these are from a trove of hidden artworks recovered after liberation. Our Will to Live also offers an original collection of vintage and modern recordings performed by Terezín survivors and contemporary masters. Essays and annotations by scholar Mark Ludwig set the historical context, introduce the artists and deepen what we know of this extraordinary chapter in World War II history. Terezín survivors helped guide this project, the result of more than 30 years of research and writing. Shortly after Ullmann authored his final concert critique, Terezín's cultural community was decimated: nearly all the artists were murdered in Auschwitz. Our Will to Live is a tribute to their creative will.