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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“It's cold, Sir. There's no bread.” (Wiktor Siminski, ca. 1947).  Artist Siminski had known Kulisiewicz at Sachsenhausen and, at his urging, sketched several scenes of camp life from memory soon after the war.
“It's cold, Sir. There's no bread.” (Wiktor Siminski, ca. 1947). Artist Siminski had known Kulisiewicz at Sachsenhausen and, at his urging, sketched several scenes of camp life from memory soon after the war.
— Hachiro Sakanishi, Ecce Homo (Tokyo, 1972). All rights reserved.
It’s Cold, Sir!
(Zimno, panie!)

Sachsenhausen concentration camp, 1944

Lyrics by: Aleksander Kulisiewicz

Music by: Camp adaptation of an unidentified tune

Language: Polish

 

Performed by Aleksander Kulisiewicz

In Sachsenhausen, a number of upper-class Poles sought to preserve their social advantages by courting favors from the camp command. Kulisiewicz rebukes two such prisoners—“Lulusinski” and the “Count”—in this brief song from 1944. Both “aristocrats” had betrayed members of the Polish Communist underground to the Reich Criminal Police Office, leading to the arrest of several inmates. In turn, other camp elites denounced Kulisiewicz to the authorities for writing and performing his derisive song. He was removed from his barrack in the middle of the night in February, 1945, and interrogated by the SS Police. The “Beggars Block” named in the song's first line was camp slang for an enormous barrack housing 600-800 prisoners.

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Related Links:

Aleksander Kulisiewicz

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

 

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