Joza Karas, chronicler of Terezin music, dies

NEW YORK (JTA) – Joza Karas, a Czech musician who collected music composed by Jewish inmates at the Terezin concentration camp, has died.

Karas, a Christian, died Dec. 5 in his home in Bloomfield, Conn., The New  York Times reported. He was 82.

In 1985 he published the book “Music in Terezin, 1941-1945,” which chronicled the musical life at Terezin in what is now the Czech Republic. The camp featured as many as four concert orchestras, an opera company and four chamber groups.

The Nazis used the music created at the camp, which held more than 140,000 prisoners for work or transfer to death camps, as a propaganda tool.

Karas found and salvaged 50 pieces of music created at Terezin.

“Why should I, a Christian, get involved in a research project virtually untouched for 25 years, since the last puff of smoke had darkened the skies of Auschwitz?” he wrote in his book, according to the Times. “Putting aside these questions, I felt attracted to the project because I am a Czech musician, and this was a subject dealing with the music of Czechoslovak Jews.”
 

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