Children's Opera Retells a Holocaust-Era Story

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Holocaust survivor Ela Weissberger is helping a new generation understand what happened when she was a child in Nazi Germany. She wants to make sure history is not forgotten.

The opera, "Brundibar," was written for and performed by children. But behind the bright voices is a dark history.

Brundibar was first performed by Jewish children imprisoned in the Terezine (Theresienstadt) Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia.

One performance was staged for Red Cross inspectors and filmed by the Nazis.

The children were later moved to Auschwitz where they were killed.

Weissberger was among the few survivors. She played the role of a cat in the Terezine performance.

Now she travels wherever Brundibar is performed, explaining how history survives through the music and telling the story of her friends.

"This little opera will never die and you are part of that," Weissberger said.

The children of the Los Angeles Opera Camp say that performing Brundibar has been about so much more than just learning a children's opera.

"It's amazing to get inside history like that," camper Muse Lee said. "You don't normally get that kind of opportunity when you're just studying the Holocaust in school."

Before learning the songs, the children learned the history of the children who originally sang them.

"Every kid in Los Angeles, in our country, ought to know of this story," Stacy Brightman, with L.A. Opera, said.

More than 50 children from the Los Angeles area spend two weeks every summer in opera camp.

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