December 7, 2008

Holocaust music chronicler Joza Karas dies

Joza Karas, who chronicled the work of Jewish composers caught up in the Holocaust died at the age of 82 in Connecticut, his family announced.

The New York Times said Sunday that Karas died in Bloomfield after dedicating his life to finding and preserving the classical music pieces that were not only written but were performed in the notorious concentration camps of World War II.

Karas, who was born a Christian in pre-war Czechoslovakia, wrote the 1985 book Music in Terezin, 1941-1945, which chronicled the music created in the Czech camp.

Terezin, also known as Theresienstadt, gained infamy during the war for having a chamber orchestra made up of inmate musicians who performed the works composed by fellow prisoners.

The Times said that although the Nazis used the music for propaganda purposes, they had no interest in preserving it, leaving Karas to track down more than 50 separate pieces.

Details of Karas's death and funeral arrangements were not announced.