Murray Brandys

the solo of a lifetime

As a youngster, Murray, a talented musician, dreamed of becoming a cantor or conductor. Those dreams abruptly ended when at 14, he was captured by the Nazis. He endured five years in Nazi labor and concentration camps.

In April 1945 with the American army nearing, the Nazis began a death march moving prisoners through the forest near Liebernau. The SS killed anyone who couldn’t keep up. While marching, Murray noticed something edible on the ground. As he bent to grab it, two armed guards dragged him away. Facing inevitable death, he asked, “What if I sing for the SS? Do you think if I sing they will let me go?”

“I sang for maybe two minutes, I don’t know what song I sang… but it was the solo that saved my life.” For whatever reason, the executioner spared his life.

For many years, Murray did not share his stories. He did not want to burden his family with tales of his horrific experiences. “I kept my life story silent for so long. Now I want [people] to understand what can happen when good people do nothing, when they look away when neighbors are abused, when they place economic well- being ahead of basic human values.”