Gods Mission for us!
The funds raised will be used to pay for and set up at the venues, get all permits needed, visa's, traveling, hotels, transportation, marketing, and media. We need these funds asap. We are hoping to get to Poland in july 2016. Our dream before we die is to return to our childhood home where we had such beautiful memories of our parents and siblings before hitler took them away from us and sing from our hearts to our parents and all those poor people that were killed.
We both are very old and this would mean so much to us that in our fading years we can have closure and go to heaven happy. Help us fulfill our life long dream.
Interested in hearing more of our story?
Please check out these publications:
The New York Times
Please check out our video by The New York Times!
We are so thankful to all that helped donate to this amazing cause and mission. Although we fell short of finances needed, we choose to finance the rest so that both gentlemen can go. Due to their ages we could not wait any longer.
Mr Dreier and Mr Sosnowicz both revisited their youth prewar and faced evil and hell again going to Auschwitz and Treblinka concentration and extermination camps... which was extremely hard for them These men are the bravest and most courageous men and at 87 and 91 years of age, are truly remarkable.
Please visit their facebook page @ Holocaust Survivor Klezmer Band to see all pics and media coverage.
Again we thank each and everyone of you for making their dream and Godly mission come true!
Local News Broward News
Holocaust survivors going to Auschwitz: We want to play for the 6 million who perished
Saul Dreier and Ruby Sosnowicz are Holocaust survivors. They came together to start the Holocaust Survivor Band.
Susannah Bryan Susannah BryanContact Reporter
Trip of a lifetime: Holocaust survivors from South Florida plan to perform at Auschwitz
It's been seven decades since they lived through the horrors of the Holocaust, but two survivors are now planning to hold a concert at Auschwitz, hoping to bring joy and healing through their music.
The two are among at least five members of the Holocaust Survivor Band who plan to go in July to Poland, Germany and Israel. Among the stops will be Krakow, the hometown of 91-year-old band founder Saul Dreier, and Warsaw, where co-founder Reuwen "Ruby" Sosnowicz, 86, lived as a boy.
"This is our dream, our mission," Dreier said. "We want to go to Poland, to play for the 6 million who perished -- and for the ones who survived."
Dreier, who survived three concentration camps, has returned twice to Poland with his family. But for Sosnowicz, this will be the first visit to his homeland since the war ended. He survived with the help of a Polish farmer who gave him permission to sleep in his barn to hide from the Nazis.
"I don't want to go to Poland because of the memories," Sosnowicz said. "But I will go for this reason, to show the world we are still alive and that we still play music. Music is my life."
Holocaust Survivor Band
Holocaust Survivor Band co-founders Reuwen “Ruby” Sosnowicz, left, and Saul Dreier play in Dreier's home in Coconut Creek. The band plans to travel to Auschwitz in July. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel)
They plan to play outside Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi concentration camp that is now a museum and memorial to the more than 1 million who perished there.
Neither man was sent to Auschwitz during the war, but they want to play there because "it was the largest and worst death camp," Dreier said.
The pair say they have no plans to use a playlist, but will make up the program as they go along.
"We play from memory, by ear. No notes," Dreier said. "Everything that comes up from our heart. We look at the audience to see what we are going to play."
Sosnowicz' daughter, Chana Rose Sosnowicz, is the band's manager, percussionist and soloist. She plans to make the trip to Poland and understands how much it means to the two leaders of the band.
"They want to get back to Poland and play music for peace and all those who perished," she said. "It's music from their hearts. It's music their parents sang to them. It's music to soothe the soul -- not only survivors but everyone else."
The band hopes to make the three-week visit in July, but must raise $18,000 more to do so, Dreier said. If they don't raise enough, they plan to postpone the journey until September.
"This is going to be a very emotional trip," he said. "Time is of the essence because of our age."
Two years ago, Dreier got the idea to start a klezmer band specializing in the Yiddish classics and Jewish folk music he knew as a boy.
The band, which has anywhere from four to 10 members, has become a hit at temples, cafes and retirement homes. They've also played bigger venues, including the Venetian in Las Vegas and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
But nothing like this.
"For them, this is the trip of a lifetime," said Rositta Kenigsberg, president of the Holocaust Documentation & Education Center in Dania Beach, where the band performed recently. "To go back after the Holocaust and play the songs of their childhood, and to play in a place where their whole families were annihilated, I think it's just amazing."
The band took shape when Dreier, a retired building contractor who lives in Coconut Creek, was introduced to Sosnowicz, a retired musician living in Delray Beach who still moonlights as a hairdresser.
Dreier plays the drums and Sosnowicz plays the accordion, keyboard and piano.
His accordion, a German-made Hohner from the 1930s, originally belonged to a Jewish man who was killed by Nazi soldiers, his daughter said.
"I got it after the war," Sosnowicz said, after playing a lively rendition of "Hava Nagila," a traditional Jewish song played at weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Both men say the music they play harkens back to simpler times.
"It reminds me of my youth, my memories, the songs my parents used to sing to me," Dreier said.
Sosnowicz was confined to the Warsaw Ghetto and separated at age 10 from his family when they were ordered to board a train. He never saw them again. For five years, he slept in a farmer's barn at night and hid in the woods during the day, for fear the Nazis might find him. When the war was over, he was 15, weighed 60 pounds and landed in a displaced persons camp in Germany.
There he fell in love with the accordion and learned to play from fellow refugees.
"We played music and sang," he said of his time in the camp. "That was how we survived, to be happy."
During the war, Dreier spent three nights with no food or water on a crowded rail car that stopped in Auschwitz. When they got to Austria, six people were dead. Dreier's entire family was killed by Nazis.
It was music that kept him alive, he says.
Dreier met a cantor in one concentration camp who sang to make the time go by. Dreier, then 16, would play along, banging spoons on a piece of wood to mimic the drums.
"We would play religious music and songs we grew up with," Dreier said. "That's how we survived."
After the war, both men wound up in New York, had families and careers and retired to South Florida. Dreier has four children and six grandchildren. Sosnowicz has two daughters and three grandchildren. Both men lost their wives in February – eight days apart.
Two years ago, they played their first concert and 436 people came.
"We didn't think anyone would come," said Chana Rose Sosnowicz. "We were shocked."
The band has renewed her father's zest for life.
"I've played music all my life," Sosnowicz said. "If you ask me the name of someone, I forget. Music I never forget."
The Holocaust Survivor Band has a Go Fund Me page for donations.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4554
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