ORPHEUS FROM HELL - A selection of songs from the concentration camps performed by Aleksander Kulisiewicz
Keywords:Holocaust, concentration camps, Aleksander Kulisiewicz, Orpheus, music, songs, singer, singer-song writer, WWII.
Jani Kovačič, singer-song writer and prof. of philosophy in Gimnasium Ljubljana, have selected 23 songs by Aleksander Kulisiewicz: 15 songs from the CD Songs from the Depths of Hell (1979), 7 songs from the record Ballads and Broadsides: Songs from Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp 1940–1945 (2008), one song from the record Chants de la deportation (Songs of the Deportation, 1975) and one from the book Adresse: Sachsenhausen, Literarische Momentaufnamen aus den KZ (Address: Sachsenhausen, Literary Records of Moments from the Concentration Camp, 1997). Simona Klemenčič and I translated them from Polish and German. From the records and pre-war recordings, I transcribed the tunes and fitted them with harmonies. Each nation has its own story of pogrom and suffering in the Second World War. This one is from the life of Aleksander Kulisiewicz. Kulisiewicz adapted folk songs and schlager of that era to the situation, the theme and the text. The prisoners also sang these songs in their own way. Last but not least, Kulisiewicz also dictated and wrote down by his memory. He played the guitar, so I also decided to play it myself. I compared the songs to the original tunes and arranged them according to Kulisiewicz’s performance. The performance is dedicated to the human will to live and to eternal optimism, though it may seem dark at times.