Israeli Orchestra Tours Auschwitz

The musicians of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, now touring Poland, visited the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp Friday, according to reports from Warsaw.

The musicians were accompanied by David Boguchval, the only cantor in Warsaw. He recited the kaddish as the members of the orchestra laid floral wreaths and lighted candles at commemorative plaques.

There was no music. The IPO had planned to play Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem. But even that, they decided, was inappropriate at a place where 4 million people, 70 percent of them Jews, were slaughtered by the Nazis.

Zubin Mehta, the IPO’s conductor and musical director, said after the somber ceremony, “I’m numb. How many times can you cry? I’m certainly glad there is no concert tonight.”

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