Friday, 24 August 2012

My guitar saved me from being gassed at Auschwitz

"When he was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Camp, Josef Schopper was able to take his guitar with him. As he later explained, it was having his instrument with him in the concentration camp (where he also had to play for the SS) that saved his life."
- Reads a sign at the Sachsenhausen museum 

Scopper, a Jew and son of a circus owner, was in Birkenau between March 1943 to July 1944, when he was exchanged to Ravensbrueck until March 1945, when his was exchanged to Sachsenhausen. During his two years, in three Nazi horror camps (all of which had "gas chambers"), he managed to keep hold of his guitar—or parts of it: 

"Probably because the wooden body of the guitar had been damaged during his imprisonment in the concentration camp. Josef Schopper had the parts which remained in good condition transferred to a new wooden body. For him and his family, the instrument always remained linked to the experience of the ordeals in the concentration camp and was always cherished.""
- Reads a sign at the Sachsenhausen museum

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