News Overview 2016

Holocaust Survivor Esther Bejarano Raps Against Right-Wing Extremism

At 91 years old, Esther Bejarano is traveling through Germany with her band Microphone Mafia to shed light on right-wing movements and to remind everyone of what happened to her and many other Jews during the Holocaust: Esther Bejarano is a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

On April 13, she was a guest at the United World College (UWC) Robert Bosch College and talked about her life in front of 200 UWC students and 150 guests from Freiburg. It was an impressive evening for the international students.

Maja and Yarden, Israel

"We have heard a lot about it in Israel, but the stories are mostly negative, full of sadness and fear. The most impressive part of Esther’s story was the hope - the hope for a better world, the hope of preventing events like those of the past through her activism. She put her feelings into song rather than into details. That was very moving."
Esther managed to survive Auschwitz thanks to her participation in the girls’ orchestra. Her iron will and her desire to take vengeance upon the Nazis for their crimes were what drove her. In order to maintain her place in the girls’ orchestra, she pretended to be able to play the accordion; she is now touring Germany as a musician many years later. Her message: this can never be allowed to happen again. Sharing her story is her life’s work.

Katja, Germany:

"I am absolutely moved by this woman, this story. I think to myself: what is left at the end is humanity. That gives me hope - and, at the same time, makes me aware of the responsibility of our generation."
Microphone Mafia is a diverse band: 91-year-old Esther sings, sometimes in German and sometimes in Yiddish, and is accompanied by her son Joram on the guitar. Rapper Kutlu from Cologne then transforms the political lyrics into hip-hop form and occasionally makes the audience laugh with his jokes.

Tinotenda, Zimbabwe:

"What an evening! I will definitely remember it. This woman is a witness of history, a living memory. To be standing here on this stage today - after everything she went through – she laughs and wants to give us something for our lives through the medium of her voice and singing. It appears to me that she has reconciled her past."
As the evening came to a close, Jewish UWC student Yarden from Israel took to the stage to thank Esther on behalf of everyone present: "You won’t believe how many survivors have never spoken about their experiences. Having Esther here today to share her story with us is a gift."

Bejarano Visiting the UWC Robert Bosch College


More Information

The UWC in Freiburg: 206 students from 88 nations