American public radio network NPR reports that an Italian music teacher, Francesco Lotoro, has found and resurrected music composed by prisoners at camps before and during World War II.
A musicologist and pianist from Barletta in Puglia, Lotoro has found thousands of songs, symphonies and operas written in concentration, labour and prisoner-of war camps around the world that date to before and during World War II.
Lotoro began the project in 1991 after he visited a concentration camp. Since then, he has travelled to more than a dozen countries interviewing Holocaust survivors, and searching through old bookshops and archives.
His search has uncovered 4,000 pieces that range from classical and jazz to folk and swing. Lotoro’s collection includes works by Jews, Roma and American soldiers held captive by the Japanese. Some of the pieces are original scores and others are copies of compositions. Of those, some are written on scraps of paper, newspaper and even toilet paper.
Lotoro has arranged and recorded 400 of the works he discovered. He has released a selection called ‘Encyclopedia of Music Composed in Concentration Camps’, which will form part of a 24-CD set. His goal is to represent as much as possible of the music written in concentration camps from 1933 to 1945.