Rabbi Detained for Singing at Auschwitz
His group sang songs their grandparents sang as they were led to their deaths
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2014 8:36 AM CDT
This undated file image shows the main gate of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz I, Poland, which was liberated by the Russians in January 1945.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Is singing appropriate at a memorial site, where it might bother other visitors? What if it's not just any singing, but an homage to relatives who sang those very songs as they were led to their deaths at Auschwitz? An Israeli rabbi who was there guiding a group of Australians and South Africans, some of whose grandparents were killed at the camp, was asked repeatedly to stop the group's singing Friday, and was ultimately detained and fined $350 for what camp administrators called "disruptive" and "unacceptable" behavior when he refused, reports the Times of Israel.

Rabbi Rafi Ostroff says his group sang several songs, including the Jewish song “Ani Maamin” ("I Believe"), a version of which was composed by a Hasidic rabbi in the cattle cars on the way to the death camps and ended up being sung by many other prisoners, according to Israeli National News. It became known as the Hymn of the Camps, and Ostroff says his group's singing should be excused given they are not typical tourists. "They have to be considerate and compassionate to Jewish groups," he wrote on Facebook. "We are not visiting there out of curiosity. It is a journey to the depths of our souls." Camp administrators say the singing was disturbing other guides and visitors. (Walmart recently scrambled to stop selling a decorative poster of a death camp entrance.)

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Showing 3 of 54 comments
HieronymusEponymous
Aug 4, 2014 6:11 PM CDT
When Hasidic Jews are asked to stop singing, they will sing louder.
kristen landen
Aug 4, 2014 1:57 PM CDT
If singing is the worst offense, might the Germans please be reminded that they did far worse things at that "camp" of death. Duh! Really?
John
Aug 4, 2014 1:07 PM CDT
"....his group sang several songs...." ------------------------ Define the word "several". Maybe they should have pre-arranged this for a better understanding of the occasion. One or two songs are appropriate. But, not a concert.