A tribute to Hana and Edgar Krasa
On April 13, just two weeks before the Defiant Requiem concert in Boston in honor of Hana and Edgar, we lost our beloved Hana to cancer. The tribute to Hana and Edgar that appeared in the Boston Program Book is below. (The Tribute was written in January for the originally scheduled date.) We continue to miss Hana every day but we are grateful that her beautiful presence graced us for ninety plus years.
How does one begin to express appreciation and gratitude to Edgar and Hana Krasa? If you know them, you can speak of their courage, their core strength, their commitment to family and friends, their limitless forgiveness and compassion. You can point to the loving and successful lives they built after enduring unimaginable horror and degradation. You can attest to their generosity of spirit, time and personal resources, and of their honesty in speaking about what they endured in their youth. They are teachers, friends, family and colleagues to so many of us here tonight.
To those of us at The Defiant Requiem Foundation, Hana and Edgar have shared their life stories and their courage with us for many years. Since Murry Sidlin’s first phone call to Edgar in 2000 during which Edgar spoke these unforgettable words, “I knew Rafi Schächter well enough that I named my son after him,” Edgar has given freely of his time and energy to the Foundation. His personal reminiscences and memories have provided the framework for the story of Defiant Requiem.
Edgar was initially uncomfortable with being honored. After all, as he noted, “All I did was survive and then tell my story.” But what Edgar and Hana have done is so much more than that. They have truly lived the motto of Defiant Requiem by confronting the worst of mankind with the best. After suffering the worst horror and degradation of the 20th century, they built lives based on love, forgiveness and strong family values. They continue to tell their story to schoolchildren in the Boston area and to many others world-wide. As Hana so eloquently, and succinctly, noted in the Defiant Requiem film, “[the Nazis] did not succeed, we survived.”
Edgar’s personal story of sharing a barracks with Rafael Schächter, singing the Requiem in the Terezín choir, working as a cook in the camp, surviving Auschwitz and then being shot and left for dead in the woods just days before Liberation, could fill this entire booklet. Rather than focusing on that, we simply want to express our enduring gratitude to Edgar and Hana. For all of us at The Defiant Requiem Foundation, it has been privilege to know them, to call them our friends and to celebrate them this evening by singing the Requiem to them with their sons and grandson in the chorus.
We can’t end this tribute without acknowledging Edgar’s boundless joie de vivre and dry sense of humor. And we admire Hana’s thoughtfulness, quiet insights and calm in every storm. Together with their families, they have taught all of us what it truly means to be a Survivor. We are grateful to them for sharing their lives with us, and we honor their dignity and courage tonight.
With much love and admiration,
Your Friends at The Defiant Requiem Foundation