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Cantor Wisnia Shares Story and Songs at Mercer County Holocaust Center

5/12/14


West Windsor, N.J. – Cantor David Wisnia shared his Holocaust survivor’s story and songs from his past with Mercer County Community College (MCCC) students and community friends during a moving Israeli Independence Day observance at the Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center on May 6.

Wisnia described his comfortable family life in Warsaw, Poland, prior to World War II, where he was lead soloist in the 80-man choir of Warsaw’s famed Tlomackie Synagogue.  In 1942, when he and his family members were living in the Warsaw Ghetto, he came home one day to find that they had been killed. At the age of 16, he was taken to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 

Despite the horrors and deprivation of life in the camp, Wisnia said he drew strength from composing music and writing song lyrics.

Cantor David Wisnia shared his Holocaust story at the Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center in commemoration of Israeli Independence Day.

In the last year of the war, Wisnia escaped from a Nazi transport and was rescued by the U.S. Army. He was able to serve with the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army in the final months of the war. Eventually he emigrated to the United States to live with his aunt in the Bronx and then became a cantor in New Jersey. Decades later, he returned to Poland as an honored guest.

At the conclusion of his comments, the cantor performed three songs from his youth, two of which he composed while in Auschwitz -- one in Yiddish called “The Little White House” and the other in Polish called “Oswiecim” (Auschwitz). The songs — smuggled out of the camp by a friend and later returned to him — are now in the permanent collection of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center

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