Діти: concert on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Muzycy z kwartetu Lutosławski Quartet
fot. D. Matłoch / Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

On the eve of the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, we invite you to a special concert dedicated to children. Approximately 232,000 children and youth under the age of 18 were deported to this camp.

  • 26 January (Thursday), 7PM, BUY TICKET >>
  • POLIN Museum auditorium
  • Tickets available online and at the Museum ticket desk

Death of a child is one of the greatest tragedies known to men. Following the death of his two children, poet Friedrich Rückert wrote a cycle of 428 poems which were published after he passed away. The composer Gustav Mahler witnessed the passing of several of his siblings, including his beloved baby brother Ernst. Inspired by Rückert’s poems, he wrote a piece titled "Kindertotenlieder" based on five of these poems. Once the piece was completed, the composer’s daughter contracted scarlet fever and died. During the concert, a chamber arrangement of "Kindertotenlieder" — the work of a distinguished violinist and composer Marcin Markowicz — will resound.

Aside from Mahler’s music in the arrangement of Markowicz, you will also listen to "Mazurka No. 4" by Josima Feldschuh (1929-1943), a teenage composer from the Warsaw ghetto. Josima grew up on Karmelicka Street in Warsaw, very close to today’s location of POLIN Museum. Josima died of tuberculosis outside of the ghetto, in a hideout in the town of Pustelnik on 21 April 1943 — two days after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising broke out. Her mother, Perl, took her own life several days later.

The concert’s program also includes a poignant string quartet piece by Witold Lutosławski. That is how the composer himself described it:

"The main movement begins with a furioso, the vehemence of which dominates for a long time, finally leading to a soliloquy in the highest registers of all four instruments. Next comes a kind of chorale, followed by a longer section, marked in the notes by the word "funebre". The final episodes of the piece take place mostly in the high registers and are just a sort of commentary on what has gone before."

In the initial stage of the women’s camp operation, children born in the camp were killed straight away, regardless of their nationality, without registering the fact of their birth in the camp documentation. From mid-1943, children born by non-Jewish women were spared. Children of Jewish inmates were in most cases annihilated until November 1944.

From among at least 1.3 million people deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, there were approximately 232,000 children and youth under 18 years of age. On the day of the camp liberation, on 27 January 1945, there were about 700 children in the camp, including about 500 under the age of 15. On that basis, historians estimate that over 200,000 children perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Towards the end of November last year, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin reported that 437 children had been killed since the beginning of the Russian invasion. We have therefore titled this concert with the Ukrainian word for "children": діти.

On the eve of the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp by the soldiers of the 60th Army of the First Ukrainian Front, we invite you all to listen to exceptional music, and above all to reflect upon death and its commemoration.


  • Josima Feldschuh Mazurka nr 4 (1940) in Marcin Markowicz’s arrangement for a chamber ensemble – premiere;
  • Witold Lutosławski String Quarter (1965);
  • Gustav Mahler Kindertotenlieder (1904) in Marcin Markowicz’s arrangement for a chamber ensemble – premiere.


  • Anna Lobedan – vocal;
  • Lutosławski Quartet:
    • Roksana Kwaśnikowska – violin;
    • Marcin Markowicz – violin;
    • Artur Rozmysłowicz – viola;
    • Maciej Młodawski – cello;
    • Malwina Lipiec – harp;
    • Tomasz Januchta – double bass.