Esther Bejarano, musician, Holocaust survivor, has passed away aged 96

Esther Bejarano, musician, Holocaust survivor, has passed away aged 96

Esther Bejarano, one of the last survivors of an orchestra formed in the Auschwitz death camp, has passed away at the age of 96.

She died at a Jewish hospital in the German city of Hamburg on Saturday.

The orchestra, formed of 40 women inmates, had to perform at the concentration camp whenever prisoners were marched off to work or when new trains arrived with Jews on board.

Later in life, she dedicated her time to making sure the world did not forget about the Holocaust.

Bejarano’s sister and parents were killed by the Nazis. She was sent to Auschwitz when she was 18 and was forced into hard labour, carrying heavy stones.

But one day she discovered that SS guards were looking for an accordion player to join the camp’s orchestra. Despite not knowing how to play the instrument, she volunteered.

She recalled the Auschwitz Women’s Orchestra having to play to new arrivals.

She was eventually transferred to the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women, where she managed to escape.

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