The Story

The Defiant Requiem Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 by Murry Sidlin, distinguished conductor, educator and artistic innovator.  Maestro Sidlin’s passion and commitment to honoring the prisoners in Terezín and their inspired artistic endeavors, serve as the framework for The Defiant Requiem Foundation.  Maestro Sidlin initially learned of this story by happenstance in a book about music of the Holocaust.  Intrigued by the story and the nagging question of why a group of Jewish prisoners would learn and sing the Verdi Requiem (a Catholic Mass), Maestro Sidlin personally undertook to research the story and find any surviving members of the chorus.  Through outreach on the internet and a bit of luck, Maestro Sidlin identified Edgar Krasa, a survivor living in the Boston area who turned out to be the Terezín room-mate of Conductor Rafael Schächter and a member of the chorus.  Edgar Krasa led Maestro Sidlin to several other surviving members of the chorus who all told the same story of finding courage and survival through the singing of the Verdi Requiem.  Maestro Sidlin’s passion and commitment to honoring these survivors, and all victims of Terezín, led to the creation of The Defiant Requiem Foundation and its four core components:  The concert, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín; the film Defiant Requiem; the Rafael Schächter Institute for Arts and Humanities at Terezín; and educational lesson plans for students and teachers hosted on the Foundation’s website