The new Retro Report documentary “How Saba Kept Singing” traces the journey of Holocaust survivor David Wisnia as he returns to Auschwitz and unlocks a secret from his past.Check out the accompanying 'How Saba Kept Singing' Education Collection
How Saba Kept Singing
“How Saba Kept Singing” traces the journey of Holocaust survivor David Wisnia as he returns to the Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau to uncover his past.
David had never told his wife, children or grandchildren the whole truth about how he survived nearly three years in the camp. The family knew that he had used his singing voice to entertain the Auschwitz guards, and that his musical gift had changed his fate.
“Music was my life right from the beginning,” he recalled decades later. “When I got into the camp, that’s what saved my life.”
But David’s grandson Avi Wisnia suspected that there was more to his Saba’s story.
“Most of the people who came into Auschwitz did not last more than about a month,” David said. “How come I stayed in Auschwitz for two and a half years and never moved?” As Avi put it, “There had to be something else.”
“How Saba Kept Singing” reveals a touching firsthand account of David’s past as he travels with Avi to Poland to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. The story is also brought to life through dynamic animation and David and Avi Wisnia’s music.
The film had its world premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in April 2022. “How Saba Kept Singing” premieres nationwide on Tuesday, April 18 on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org and the PBS app to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“How Saba Kept Singing” was produced in collaboration with HiddenLight Productions, Burnt Umber Productions and the WNET Group’s reporting initiative Exploring Hate.
Educators, click here for the “How Saba Kept Singing” Education Collection.
Sign up for our newsletter to receive resources related to this video.
Browse through dozens more lesson plans and videos here.
Clinton-produced ‘How Saba Kept Singing’ tells story of cantor’s Auschwitz survival from The Times of Israel (also picked up by STL Jewish Light, Cleveland Jewish News, Jewish Post and News)
Can a Holocaust documentary have a happy ending? Should it? from Jewish Telegraph Agency
How a gift for music saved one man from the Nazis from Forward Review
Best-Bets For April 18: Emotional Moments, Past and Present from Mike Hughes
More Like This
In Ukraine, elderly Jewish citizens threatened by the war with Russia are being evacuated. As children, they escaped the Nazi invasion. Now some are finding refuge in a most unlikely place: Germany.
In 1948, World War II aviators risked their lives in a secret operation to smuggle weapons and planes to the Israeli military.
A Soviet blockade around Berlin cut the divided city off from the West. But in 1948 U.S. and British pilots began to fly food, fuel and medicine to the Allied sectors.
In the Cold War, North Korean Communists invaded South Korea. President Truman’s decision to intervene had consequences that shape the world today.