Friday, October 31, 2014

The Time an Accordion Saved a Girl's Life

I'm doing some research on one of the member's of our shul and I came across this breathtaking story:

In 1941, German armed forces overran Bosnia, and stormtroopers quickly started rounding up Jews. The seriousness of the situation became dramatically apparent when Jagoda's father rushed into the family's home and said they had to flee for their lives.

"My father came home all pale and scared to death," Jagoda recalled. "He said the Germans were gathering all the Jews and we had to run away.

"He said it would be too dangerous for all three of us to go together, and that I should go first. He took me to the train station, but he wasn't able to buy me a ticket to a town where his friend would meet me.

"He told me to get on the train, sit down in the compartment and play my accordion. So, for hours, I played all the songs I have ever played."

Passengers were attracted to the music, and soon the compartment was filled with people. When the conductor came in, instead of checking tickets, he sat down to listen.

"The conductor loved music and the accordion and never did ask me for my ticket," Jagoda said. "The accordion was my survival; otherwise, I would have gone in a very bad way.

"My memory of that train trip is fear, fear, fear. Just fear. The music saved my life, because this was a time when they were picking up Jews and sending them to concentration camps.

"Imagine — an accordion, of all things, saving one's life."

Such quick thinking. Such courage. Absolutely amazing. I shudder to think of what my fate would have been if I had been in the same situation.

Recently, I was reminded of the power of music but this takes it to a whole new level.

I'll never listen the accordion the same way again.

Perhaps Aurthur Ashe said it best:

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Here's a short video that captures this story and includes photos of the actual accordion.

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