Cheryl Corley writes for the NPR show All Things Considered about the revival of a children’s opera, Brundibár, originally performed by Jewish children held in a concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia:
Eighty-four-year-old Ela Stein Weissberger says it’s a simple story, a tale of good conquering evil, based on a fairy tale….
Weissberger travels around the world to make sure it stays alive. More than seven decades ago she auditioned and was chosen to play the role of the cat in Brundibár — one of three animals featured in the opera. The title character is the villain, an organ grinder and bully who thwarts the children’s efforts to earn money so they can help their mother.
“The Brundibár, in our eyes, was Hitler,” Weissberger says.
But Weissberger says the Nazis didn’t seem to catch on: “You know, the words we were singing in Czech language. The Nazis didn’t know Czech so they didn’t know.”