Holocaust Survivor Band: "Music saved our lives"

Saul Dreier and Ruby Sosnowicz were inspired to start a band after the death of fellow Holocaust survivor and musician Alice Herz-Sommer.
Saul Dreier and Ruby Sosnowicz were inspired to start a band after the death of fellow Holocaust survivor and musician Alice Herz-Sommer. (Joshua Z Weinstein/Weinsteinfilm.com)

Saul Dreier and Ruby Sosnowicz credit music for keeping them alive during the Holocaust, but both fell out of practice as they grew older. Last year, spurred by the death of musician and fellow survivor​ Alice Herz-Sommer, Dreier approached then-stranger Sosnowicz with a pitch: why not start their own Holocaust Survivor Band?

Now the spirited octogenarians and their klezmer band are the subjects of a New York Times Op-Doc by journalist Joshua Z Weinstein — or, as he bills it, "the Spinal Tap of Holocaust documentaries". All three join guest host PiyaChattopadhyay to discuss the transporting power of music during dark times, and why they're spreading the sound of joy and survival well into their golden years.

Journalist Joshua Z Weinstein shares the story behind this photo on today's show. The clouds parted on a rainy day for the Holocaust Survivor Band. (Joshua Z Weinstein/Weinsteinfilm.com)
The Holocaust Survivor Band were inspired to start playing again after the death of Alice Herz-Sommer, a Holocaust survivor and musician who died last year at age 110. (ho-Kieran Crilly/The Canadian Press)