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Fall Edition
Volume 98, Number 2

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Messiah College May 2006 Prague Cross-cultural Trip

The Defiant Requiem at Terezin

Edgar Krasa, concentration camp survivor

photo by Brendan T. Hopper '06

Edgar Krasa, survivor of Terezin concentration camp, shared memories and reflections on his experience at Terezin with Messiah students after they attended the dress rehearsal for the performance of Giuseppe Verdi's “Defiant Requiem.” 

"Murry Sidlin <the conductor> came over to our group and briefly told us about his efforts leading up to that evening. Then he told us, "I want you to meet Edgar Krasa. He sang this song when it was originally performed here in Terezin." Up walked this short man, hunched over, with a hundred lines across his face. There was a slight pause after he introduced himself with a smile. None of us in the group even knew where to begin. Eventually, someone asked if he could talk about his time here at the camp. He had a friendly air about him the entire time, and a witty sense of humor. We all hung on his every word, knowing full well what he had been through and respecting him for that."

Brendan T. Hopper ’06

the memorial cemetery outside the workcamp

Photo by Brendan T. Hopper '06 

Messiah students visited the memorial cemetery outside the walls of the Terezin work camp.


“While watching the performance of the Defiant Requiem, it was easy to close my eyes and envision the Jewish people singing this same piece <many years earlier>, but it was also hard to listen to, knowing that immediately after the prisoners’ last concert, they were shipped to an extermination camp.  It's amazing the kind of courage it took for them to perform this piece for the Nazis, and I can only imagine the amount of pride they took with them on those trains to Auschwitz…Experiencing Terezin made history really come alive.  People can watch films such as Schindler's List and go to museums, but one can't learn the whole story of the holocaust until they are standing on the same ground that the Jewish people suffered on every day.”

Matthew Kocher ’08




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Read the full article appearing in The Bridge (page 3)

Read Rebecca Wilt's summary of the Prague cross-cultural trip

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