A good friend of mine, the poet Iacovos Kambanellis, was a prisoner in Mauthausen during World War II. At the beginning of the sixties, he wrote his memories of this time under the title of "Mauthausen". In 1965, he also wrote four poems on the subject and gave me the opportunity to set them to music. I did this with much pleasure, firstly because I liked the poetry of the texts, and secondly because I was myself locked up during the Nazi occupation in Italian and German prisons, but mainly because this composition gives us the chance to remind the younger generation of history, that history that must never be forgotten.

First and foremost, of course, the Mauthausen Cantata is addressed to all those who suffered under Fascism and fought against it. We must keep the Nazi crimes continually in our minds, because that is the only guarantee and the only way to assure that they are not repeated. And we can see every day that the ghost of Fascist is far from being laid. It seldom shows its real face, but Fascist cultures and mentalities exist all over the world. For us, who had to live through this time of horror, the most important task is to protect our children against this peril.

Mikis Theodorakis

English translation supervised by Ariel Parker


I am always surprised at things that happen "afterwards".

1965: The Mauthausen Chronicle is being prepared for publication by Themelio. The Editor Mimis Despotides, for ever present in our memory, had an idea that both Mikis Theodorakis and I immediately agreed with: to write a cycle of songs which would be recorded so that the record and the book could be released at the same time. And that's exactly what happened.

In December of the same year, in a theatre, I recited extracts from the Chronicle and then the songs were sung for the first time.

An unforgettable evening! Not only for me but for Theodorakis and Farantouri as well.

1980: I decide to go back to Mauthausen for the first time. It is May and the camp's former inmates, women and men from all over Europe, have organized a reunion.

We met on the very day of the 35th anniversary of our liberation. In other words, on the 5th of May, we met in Mauthausen village to walk together to the concentration camp. We, the 30.000 survivors, kept silent during the walk up to the camp. And our silence expressed our remembrance, love and respect for the 240.000 who had walked to their Golgotha there.

As we got closer to the camp, I heard music coming from inside, from the square where the prisoners mustered. It was carried by the morning breeze all the way up the newly wooded hills.

It seemed vaguely familiar, as if I had heard it somewhere before ... I was right. As we drew closer, I realized that I was listening to the voice of Maria Farantouri singing "Girls of Auschwitz, Girls of Mauthausen, have you not seen my love?"

Quite a bit later, without mentioning who I was, I went to the camp's secretariat and asked what the song we had heard in the morning was ... They told me that it had been the camp's leitmotif for years.

I knew how much trouble Theodorakis had taken to produce he Mauthausen cycle and present it in concert. It was meanwhile well known in many countries. However, my "encounter" with that song in that very place, at that very time was, well...

Ever since then, I dreamt of staging a concert in these conditions and managed to convince Theodorakis to share this dream with me. The concert took place in 1988 in Mauthausen, flooded by tens of thousands of pilgrims, pacifists, wonderful people who had come from all over, all over...

Back in 1965, how beautifully and creatively innocent we were.

Iacovos Kambanellis
Translated from the Greek by Jane Taaffe-Nikolaou. Supervision: Ariel Parker


Mauthausen is the symbol of the attempt to exterminate not just a people, but also at the same time the wisdom of a people. That the attempt failed, and that similar attempts will fail in the future, is beyond question. The work of men and women of all continents, individuals who find the meaning of life in the development of the spirit through research, philosophy, poetry and music, this work guarantees that a culture befitting human beings will ultimately triumph over violence and stupidity. The question is, how dearly we will have to pay for this "ultimately". For dictators of all colours intentionally overlook the fact that the basic ideas of human coexistence are preserved in the knowledge not of one people alone, but of all peoples.

The living reminder of Mauthausen is a step in the direction of this understanding. That some day, monotheistic and polytheistic faiths will exist side by side with atheism, or even that the most humane values of each will melt into one another: a sublime Utopia.

Music can bring us a step closer to this dream. Music is the medium, ideal as a line of projection into open space. Ideal for breaking down the barriers of our spiritual world and carrying over our desires, over the threshold to something as yet unknown, but which will comprehend our ideas of today. A future home for mankind. An unlimited planet. And us, millions of tiny stars, free in time and space.

In some ways, Jewish music and Greek music are very similar, one could say close: many songs that appear melancholy, many sad texts set to cheerful melodies. These elements that link the two peoples are also present in some of the songs of the Mauthausen Cycle. In the nature of the sounds created by Mikis Theodorakis to the verses of Iacovos Kambanellis lies the secret that, across the borders of language, quickly created a basis of understanding for the message of the Mauthausen songs. A merry melody does not always necessarily mean laughing in the face of death. But withstanding death. Like the earth, bearing the trunks of burnt-out trees, preparing herself in autumn and winter so that the mountain will be green again in the spring, with bushes full of millions of little stars.

Ina & Asteris Koutoulas
English translation supervised by Ariel Parker


Down with degenerate music!
Long live purposeful National Socialist art!
It must be strong and in tune with the spirit of the new age.
Back to the heroic times!
The symphony of a concentration camp is the exact reflection of the essence of the Third Reich.

If stones could speak...
Everything in the Third Reich must be beautiful. Even the concentration camp, the sanatorium for the "Underworld", has to appear architecturally perfect. The beautiful façade should conceal the atrocity inside.
Each stone was a human life that bore it, that fell by it.
An unseen hand has written over all these buildings "Hic mortui vivunt et muta natura loquntur."

*

I have survived. And as a survivor I am a witness. If this survival, of the horrors that are summoned up today in the term HOLOCAUST, is to have had any purpose, then it is above all that of keeping awake the memory of the unimaginable, to prevent forgetting and repression and to build all this into the vision of a better future, where such things or anything like them can never happen again anywhere in this world.

We survivors are grateful to the fate that allowed today's act of remembrance to take place and that the crimes of National Socialism committed half a century ago did not fall into oblivion. I commemorate the victims of the unconceivable mass murder that struck down my mother, my wife's mother, our relatives, my friends, my colleagues, my fellow inmates of various camps where we were imprisoned together, and last but not least the fellow inmates of the so-called Russian camp of Mauthausen, who were with me in the death block of Hut 6. I remember as if it were yesterday, the moment we heard the call: "They are coming!". It was the Americans. Those of us who had still the strength dragged themselves out of the hut in order to watch the American tank coming. We were too weak to get any closer. Many of my comrades died at that very moment or some hours later - whether they were conscious of their liberation and the collapse of National Socialism, no one can say.

Let us now mourn for those who spent their last hours here fifty years ago.

National Socialism, which wanted to rule and enslave the world, consisted de facto of a combination of hatred and technology. Hatred is a terrible thing. It was hatred that led the way for the million fold National Socialist crimes. We must despise those crimes, not only because they slaughtered our families, but also because they trampled human dignity underfoot and therefore also the dignity of God - who made man in his own image.

The world underestimated Hitler and the National Socialist regime for far too long - this misjudgement had tragic consequences.

There are always temptations to do wrong, even in such an open, such a free society as we have in Austria. The more we keep remembering all history with no restrictions, the easier it will be for us to withstand such temptation and to build an ethically viable future.

If we were to forget, repress or falsify what happened, our past would return to us over and over again, unvanquished, and would prevent us and our descendants from building our future, in a way that is right and worthy of man.

I say this to you as someone who survived the death block of Mauthausen as by a miracle.

Simon Wiesenthal
English translation supervised by Ariel Parker


In the beginning, we were planning to make a recording of the Mauthausen Cantata during the performance on 7.5.1995 at the former concentration camp and to publish it as a historical document. After the experience of the liberation commemoration in Mauthausen - the place, the people, the speeches and the music - we felt we had to do more than just overcoming the past. And thus the idea to internationalise and generalise the "Mauthausen Project" was born. On the one hand something more concrete, almost a homage, to the many - mostly Jewish - victims in the countless concentration camps of the Nazis. On the other hand, the acceptance of the "Mauthausen Phenomenon" as something that concerns us and our future directly: the Hebrew outcry, the English ballad. Thus the idea of a MAUTHAUSEN TRILOGY nearly forced itself upon us. In less than two months, the Hebrew and English version of the Mauthausen Cantata were created - thanks to the help of Elinoar Moav Veniadis, Julie Dennis and Nadia Weinberg. They now stand side-by-side with the live version by Maria Farantouri, who was the first interpreter of the work that launched her great career as a singer thirty years ago.

We wish to thank the composer who entrusted us with the production of this outstanding historic document, as well as Simon Wiesenthal who kindly made available to us his speech at Mauthausen and the drawings and collages he created during his imprisonment at the concentration camp. We are also grateful to Elinoar Moav Veniadis and Julie Dennis for the translations of the texts, to Ina Koutoulas for the layout of the booklet and to all the others who co-operated in this "production".

Asteris Kutulas & Alexandros Karozas

English translation supervised by Ariel Parker


Mikis Theodorakis
MAUTHAUSEN

Greek
The Choir sings in German
Arranged by Jannis Zotos
Recorded Live at KZ Mauthausen on May 7th, 1995,
by Michael Kahl & Alexandros Karozas

Nikos Antypas - Drums
Christian Boissel - Oboe & English Horn
Lakis Karnezis - Bouzouki
Wolfgang Musick - Double Bass
Jens Naumilkat - Cello
Rainer Rohloff - Classical Guitar
Henning Schmiedt - Grand Piano
Gregoris Tzistoudis - Bouzouki
Jannis Zotos - Accoustic Guitar
Thanassis Zotis - Percussion
Youth Choir of Haag (Austria)
Choir of the Herbsttage Blindenmarkt (Austria)
Kurt Dlouby - Chorus Master
Maria Farantouri
Conducted by Mikis Theodorakis

English
Translated by Julie Dennis
Arranged by Alexandros Karozas
Recorded from August 1995 to July 1999 in Frankfurt/Main by Alexandros Karozas
Nadia Weinberg
Voice coaching by Asteris Kutulas
Thorsten Kamps - Saxophone & Flute
Alexandros Karozas - Guitars, Bouzouki & Piano in "Song of Songs"
Andreas Lehmann - Clarinette & Piano
Willi Wagner - Double Bass
Andreas Fatsalidis - Percussion
Conducted by Alexandros Karozas

Hebrew
Translated by Elinoar Moav Veniadis
Arranged by Yossi Ben-Nun
Recorded & mixed in July 1995 in Tel Aviv by Yossi Ben-Nun
Elinoar Moav Veniadis
Conducted by Yossi Ben-Nun

Speech of Simon Wiesenthal

Edited, mixed & mastered by Alexandros Karozas
Produced by Alexandros Karozas & Asteris Kutulas
Drawings by Simon Wiesenthal
Special thanks to Ariel Parker, Guy Wagner, Tim Dowdall, Evi Weinberg, Christian Denkmeier, Kurt Dlouhy & Chaninah