Defiant Requiem Shows Jews Kept Spirit Alive in Nazi Death Camp

Jews in a Nazi camp fought their captors through music. The “Defiant Requiem” recreates that this week near Detroit.

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET


Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

Ben Breuninger/DSO

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

Thursday night at the Congregation Shaarey Zadek temple in Southfield, classical music conductor Murry Sidlin joins with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Community Chorus of Detroit to recreate a moment of musical defiance by Jewish prisoners held inside a Nazi camp called Terezen more than 70 years ago.

About 150 Jewish prisoners banded together in that camp under the gathering clouds of World War II.

In a dark, dank cellar the prisoners learned a piece of music that inspired their comrades and showed their spirits would not be crushed by the Nazis.

Sidlin took that story and created a multimedia presentation around it called the “Defiant Requiem.”

It will be performed Thursday night in Southfield and twice over the weekend at Orchestra Hall in Detroit.

Sidlin describes to WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter what drove him to craft the Defiant Requiem.

Click the audio link above for the complete interview with Sidlin.

You can also check out this video trailer previewing a documentary based on the Defiant Requiem.



  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.