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The Wartime Memories Project - The Second War

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George Horner

from:Newtown Square, PA

For George Horner at age 19 music was an escape from the pain that surrounded him and his family in the Czchoslovakian concentration camp where they were imprisioned. Horner was born in 1923 in Moravia. In 1942, he and his family were sent to Terezin, a camp northwest of Prague. Terezin was said to have been used by the Germans for propaganda purposes and presented to the public as a model settlement community. Many middle-class residents of Germany and other areas were imprisoned there as were a number of musicians, composers, and other artists. Horner began playing piano and accordion and got to know composers Gideon Klein and Karel Svenk, he said. Two years later he and his family were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, at which point his father was killed, and he was sentenced to hard labor. After suffering starvation and beatings, Horner was one of thousands of prisoners ordered to make a "death march" to Buchenwald, in Germany. Horner was freed in 1945 but learned that his mother and sister had died. He threw himself into his studies in Prague, then relocated to Australia to earn his medical degree, specializing in cardiopulmonology.

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