The Cello Still Sings by Janet Horvath
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A Generational Story of the Holocaust and of the Transformative Power of Music
A sweeping history of three generations darkened by the long shadow of the Holocaust, The Cello Still Sings is a vivid, moving, and true story of personal discovery. As a child Janet is haunted by the eerie hush surrounding her parents’ experiences. George and Katherine, two professional musicians and Holocaust survivors, bury the memories of who and what they were before, silencing the past in order to live. Music is their lifeline.
After five decades of secrets, Janet finally unravels her Holocaust heritage when she stumbles upon a clue. After the war, George performed morale-boosting programs throughout Bavaria in a twenty-member orchestra of concentration camp survivors. Although Janet also becomes a cellist, her father never discloses that two of the programs, in 1948, were led by the legendary American maestro, Leonard Bernstein.
Janet’s father was more fortunate than others. When he was rounded up for hard labor, narrowly missing deportation to the death camps of Auschwitz, a music-loving Nazi guard gave him gloves to protect his cello-playing hands. Janet’s memoir of the Holocaust is deeply personal and illuminating. Through humor and colorful story-telling, she weaves her parents’ life into her own and captures the intensity of their life experiences. The lingering scars are healed through the sustenance and power of music, and their music-making unites people from generation to generation.
Year first published: 2023