Music of the Holocaust: Highlights from the Collection

Songs of the ghettos, concentration camps, and World War II partisan outposts

Individuals

 

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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“Work makes one free,” a sign on the gate at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Germany, February 1941.
“Work makes one free,” a sign on the gate at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Germany, February 1941.
USHMM #19226a/Popperfoto
My Gate
(Moja brama)

Sachsenhausen concentration camp, 1944

Lyrics by: Aleksander Kulisiewicz

Music by: Serbian popular song

Language: Polish

 

Performed by Aleksander Kulisiewicz

Moja Brama is Kulisiewicz's reminder of the sadistic “sporting competitions” held at Sachsenhausen. During these sessions, SS-men commanded prisoners to perform the so-called “Indian Dance,” forcing inmates to quickly and repeatedly raise their arms, stare at the sky, twist their bodies, drop to the ground, and stand up again. Many prisoners became dizzy or ill or fell exhausted after such “exercise.” Kulisiewicz's coping mechanism was to focus on the camp gate, much as a ballet dancer might spot a distant object to remain balanced while turning. The image of the gate burned into Kulisiewicz's consciousness, and remained among his most indelible impressions of camp life.

Listen to:

Related Links:

Aleksander Kulisiewicz

Sachsenhausen concentration camp (article in the USHMM’s Holocaust Encyclopedia)

 

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