Audio Q&A: Conductor Murry Sidlin discusses his Hours of Freedom: The Story of The Terezin Composer

John Lemley and Mark Gresham | 02 DEC 2019

This Thursday evening, as part of its Fran Eizenstat and Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture Series, the Ahavath Achim Synagogue presents Hours of Freedom: The Story of The Terezin Composer, a dramatized concert created and directed by Murry Sidlin and produced by The Defiant Requiem Foundation. Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required through the registration link on the concert’s event page.

Murry Sidlin

Murry Sidlin

Listen to John Lemley’s interview with Hours of Freedom creator Murry Sidlin:

The music clips heard in the interview are excerpts from music written by composers interred at Terezin.

Hours of Freedom showcases works by fifteen composers imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during World War II through a combination of music, video, and narrative, portraying both the agony and suffering of concentration camp and the contrasting inspiration and hope that is revealed through music.

The Holocaust, or השואה (HaShoah – “the catastrophe”), the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, resulted in the murder of an estimated two-thirds of the continent’s Jewish population, some six million men, women and children.


Theresienstadt was established during the war by the Nazi SS as a hybrid of ghetto and concentration camp in Terezín, a Czech town established in 1780 as a fortified garrison and prison. During WWII, Theresienstadt served both as a waystation to the extermination camps, and as a ghetto in a propaganda role. After the occupation of the Czech lands in March 1939, the Prague Gestapo Police prison was set up in1940. The Jewish ghetto was created in 1941.

"In the Living Quarters," a drawing by Bedrich Fritta of the Terezin ghetto.

“In the Living Quarters,” a drawing by Bedrich Fritta of the Terezin ghetto.

Surprisingly, Theresienstadt had a relatively rich cultural life, which greatly exceeded that in other Nazi concentration camps and ghettos , especially in 1943 and 1944, including concerts, lectures, visual arts and clandestine education. Nevertheless, it was a concentration camp, a place of starvation, disease and death that was part of the wartime horror that was the Holocaust — which should never be repeated but also never forgotten.  ■

John Lemley is an Atlanta-based host and producer who has been a mainstay of the city’s media scene for over 20 years, first as an on-air host and producer at 90.1 WABE, then as host and producer of John Lemley’s City Café on 1690 WLMB. John currently serves as an investigative reporter for Nancy Grace’s new Sirius XM radio program, Crime Stories.

Mark Gresham is an American composer and music journalist. He is the founder, publisher and principal writer of EarRelevant