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The Jewish Ghetto And Its Phantom Opera

Nazis used a Czech military fortress to hold Jewish prisoners during World War II. Yet somehow  art and music flourished, including one notable opera that had gone tragically unperformed.

Terezin ghetto's entrance
Terezin ghetto's entrance
Marie-Aude Roux

TEREZIN When entering Terezin, in the Czech Republic, the emptiness and vastness almost makes your blood run cold. The sun and wind seem to be pushing the clouds away, between the rectilinear buildings of the former military fortress here. This was originally an 18th century garrison town called Theresienstadt, but during World War II it was used by the Nazis as a “model ghetto.”

Today, Terezin is a small provincial town, an hour north of Prague. We went there with Louise Motay, a young stage director who was asked by the French troupe and opera workshop “Atelier de recherche et de création pour l’art lyrique” (Arcal) to produce an opera here written by Viktor Ullmann in 1943. Though Ullmann was never heard from again after a convoy left the ghetto for Auschwitz on Oct. 16, 1944, his music — an opera called DerKaiser von Atlantis — miraculously survived.

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War In Ukraine, Day 126: Russia Watching NATO, As Path Cleared For Finland And Sweden To Join

As NATO leaders meet in Madrid, Finland and Sweden look much closer to joining the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections to their membership. It's yet another momentous change underway since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

International leaders after having their photograph taken before the start of the NATO 2022

Anna Akage, Shaun Lavelle, and Emma Albright

A high-stakes NATO summit has kicked off in Madrid, as leaders of the world’s largest defense alliance discuss the war in Ukraine and key decisions that will shape the organization’s future direction. NATO Secretary-GeneralJens Stoltenberg said the Russian invasion of its neighbor had prompted a fundamental shift in its approach to defense.

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Finland and Sweden look much closer to joining the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections to their membership. The three countries released a joint memorandum that “extend[ed] their full support against threats to each other's security," FinnishPresident Sauli Niinistö said.

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