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Theresienstadt, or Terezin as it is called in Czech, in the present Czech Republic was used during the Second World War as a concentration camp by the Nazis. Some of the prisoners were artists, composers and writers. In anticipation of deportation to extermination camps like Auschwitz, there were possbilities to be devoted to creation. There were daily jazz concerts, theater performances and lectures. Much music was composed inside the campus walls. The Nazis used this cultural life for display purposes, for example when the Red Cross came to inspect.
The performance Café Terezin is about life in the camp and living as a refugee in a foreign country. The Roman figure Steffi is taken from Annika Thor’s books about an island in the sea based on true stories. In the performance (in swedish) we follow the correspondence between Steffi and her parents who remain in the war of Europe.
Another thread in the performance is Alfred Kantor’s pictures and diary notes. Kantor came to Theresienstadt in 1941 eigteen years old and was taken to Auschwitz in 1943, where he finally escaped the gas chamber at the last moment. In the summer of 1945, he wrote and draw down his memories of the war, Alfred Kantor’s book, published in 1971.
The music presented is written by composers who were in prison camp, including Pavel Haas, Hans Krása, Erwin Schulhoff, Karel Berman and Viktor Ullmann.
Kristina Hedberg Karlberg is director and has done the textual composition in collaboration with the Gestaltensemblen.
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