Tirzah-Quartet works with Narrator Mieke Paulussen for the project "Secret Lives", based on Filmworks XI.
Zorn wrote this for the documentary "Secret Lives : Hidden Children and their Rescuers during WW II", by Academy award winning director Aviva Slesin.
Hidden Children and Rescuers are interviewed in this moving film.
Zorn writes in his liner notes : "The story of Jewish children saved from the Nazi murderers by non-Jews in the middle of the horrors of war is a complex and emotional one. In doing the music I've tried to capture a sense of these intense and conflicting emotions while tying together the various stories by an intimate orchestration."
A few excerpts from the documentary :
Dutch rescuer Johanna Bosch van Drakestein hid Michel Nager in a suburb of Amsterdam. Though he called her ''Tante (aunt) Han,' 'says Nager, ''in a certain sense, she was our mother.'' Despite the danger of hiding Jewish boys because of their telltale circumcisions, Mr. and Mrs. Bosch van Drakestein readily agreed to take in Michel Nager and his brother Freddy. Shortly after, ''Tante Han's'' husband died suddenly, but she decided to keep on hiding the boys. After the war, Mrs. Bosch van Drakestein, who had never had any children of her own, remarried and had two boys. She always felt that they were God's reward for having sheltered Michel and his brother.
Johanna Bosch " Unbelievable that nothing happened at that time. One day the doctor came, because Michel was ill. and he said : " you can tell me that these are your nephews ... we never believe it. But don't let them too much on the street"
.Michel : " the number of people who risked their lives was a very small minority. It was nearly impossible to find a place to be hidden. My brother and I, went from place to place, until we came to Tante Han where we stayed the whole period."
Jean Paul Goyens (rescuer, Antwerp, Belgium)
in April 1943, the outskirts of Antwerp were bombed. I was 22 at that time. I heard someone crying in a house : the house was shattered, there wereno windows."
Rachel Lajzeowicz-Richter : "Jean Paul went looking for me and found me among the rooms of the house."
Jean-Paul : "there was nobody there : just that little child that was injured at her right leg. So I took her to the hospital." To find out who the girl was, Jean-Paul Goyens went back to the house where he had found her and discovered that she was a Jewish girl, already in hiding. But the people who had taken her in, were too afraid to keep her any longer.
Jean-Paul : "so I asked my father if he could take an orphan - it was a lie - an orphan whose parents had died in the bombing. And my fathe ragreed. But I didn't tell him that she was Jewish, I didn't dare to tell. So we gave her the identity of a catholic girl, Irène Lefèbre, whose parents had died in the bombing. With my sisters and Irène it was love at first sight. They had a doll, because she was very tiny and she was extremely clever.
Irène : "Later, my adopted family, said that at night in my dreams, I spoke a very queer language, that sounded a bit like German".
Jean-Paul : "... so, that was Yiddish, she was speaking Yiddish. So I had to tell my father. My father knew the danger, but he said : ok. So everything was done for Irène : we were 6 children and she lived as the seventh child, very dear to us." Irène, or Rachel is still alive today and lives in Israel.
The Rosciszewskis hid 19 Jews at their country estate outside of Krakow, Poland.
With them was 3-year old Paul Wagner and his mother Janina, daughter of the rescuers, (at that time 8 years old): whenever the Germans were looking for Jews, I'd grab Paul's hand and say : "let's go for a walk in the forest". He knew that when the Germans came, we had to go for a walk." One day, the Germans surprised them, and there was no time for everyone to get away.
Paul : " when the Germans came, I was clinging for my mother. but Mrs Rosciszewski picked me up, and she told them that I was her son. 10 people out of the 19 were able to escape. 9, including my mother, were taken away and shot. I was very young, very little when they took my mother away. So, Misses Rosciszewski raised me and she was like my mother, and he was like my father".Paul lived as a member of the Rosciszewski family until the end of the war.