Terezín/Theresienstadt is a CD of music composed in the concentration camp at Terezín in what was then Czechoslovakia. Virtually the entire Czech intelligentsia; certainly those of Jewish or Communist persuasion, were imprisoned in a kind of “show camp” to demonstrate to the world that the Nazis weren’t as bad as made out. Nine of the ten composers featured on the disc ended up on a “Polentransport”; a one way ticket to Auschwitz. No story is more poignant than that of Ilse Weber, a nurse in the hospital. She chose to accompany the sick children of the camp on their final journey and reportedly sang to them in the gas chamber.
Both Viktor Ullmann and Alexander Zemlinsky were among the group of composers persecuted by the Nazi regime. Ullman would die in Auschwitz, Zemlinsky in exile and obscurity. This 2008 recording from Los Angeles Opera’s “Recovered Voices” series brings together two one act operas; Ullman’s Der zerbrochene Krug and Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg. in productions directed by Darko Tresnjak and conducted by James Conlon.