"[Eyre] skilfully recounts the remarkable story of Kulisiewicz’s survival.... He is a deft storyteller, with a limpid style, moving his characters to centre stage, aside, then back again. He weaves a compelling, well-informed narrative and illuminates the inner dynamics of the camp’s power structure.... Sing, Memory is a moving story of courage and determination amid overwhelming loss, all the more powerful for its heartbreaking sense of what might have been."
"An uplifting story of music emanating from the depths of one of the 20th century's most horrific periods...A significant new chapter of Holocaust History."
"Poignant...Sparely written yet deeply moving, this is a powerful study of the healing power of art."
"Riveting.... Masterfully written."
-Jewish Book Council
"An astonishing chronicle of musical resistance."
On a cold October night in 1942, SS guards at Sachsenhausen violently disbanded a rehearsal of a secret Jewish choir led by conductor Rosebery d’Arguto. Only one of its members survived the Holocaust. Yet their story survives, thanks to Aleksander Kulisiewicz. An amateur musician, he was not Jewish, but struck up an unlikely friendship with d’Arguto in Sachsenhausen. D’Arguto tasked him with a mission: to save the musical heritage of the victims of the Nazi camps.
In Sing, Memory, I recount Kulisiewicz’s extraordinary transformation from a Polish nationalist into a guardian of music and culture from the Nazi camps. Aided by an eidetic memory, Kulisiewicz preserved for posterity not only his own songs about life at the camp, but the music and poetry of dozens of other prisoners. Drawing on extensive archival research, I tell this rich and affecting human story of musical resistance to the Nazi regime in full for the first time.
Sing, Memory was published on May 23rd, 2023 by WW Norton! Order the book here. More information can be found here. For a preview of the story, read my essay in the Wall Street Journal or listen to this two-part documentary from France Culture.