David Wisnia is in a unique category—he is both a Holocaust survivor and a Holocaust liberator. David’s amazing story wil be shown on April 11 during the Yom Hoshoah program in Columbia. David’s autobiography: One Voice, Two Lives tells the story of David’s journey from Poland, where he was recognized as a child with a beautiful voice , to being honored by participating as the Cantor at the Memorial Service at Aushcwitz on January 27, 2015- The 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Aischwitz Birkenau.
WWII started in Poland on September 1, 1939, the day after David turned 13 years old. He became an orphan and experienced the horrows of the ghetto and ultimately the concentration camp of Auschwitz. While in Auschwitz, he was recognized as a singer, and he became an “elite inmate” which meant he could entertain the Nazis and enjoy a “preferred status”. His voice literally “saved his life’. Once he was destined to transfer to Dachau, he feared that his status would end and he took a chance at escape.
His successful escape led him to encouter the American 101st Airborne Division. When he met Captain James L Walker of Charleston , SC, his life took a major shift as he traveled with the Division and worked as a translator. David could speak several languages, including Polish, German, Yiddish, and a little English. They traveled through Germany and Austria and fought the Nazis. His division ended up in Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s retreat, after Hitler killed himself.
Ultimately, David immigrated to the US in 1946, met his bride and had four children and 6 grandchildren. David will perform a song he wrote while in the camps, and will be accompanied by his musician grandson, Avi Wisnia.
Commemoration organized by the Columbia Holocaust Education Commission
Following the live event, a recording of the commemoration
will be available at www.columbiaholocausteducation.org
Visit the Holocaust Remembered Exhibit April 1 - 12
at the Katie & Irwin Kahn JCC