Thommy Ford Reads

A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

Thommy Ford’s Playlist—Track #17: “Angel of Bergen-Belsen”

Welcome to our new series highlighting the music we have here at Thomas Ford Memorial Library. Each week of 2013 we will discuss one of our favorite songs from the collection. Classical or Country, Hip-Hop or Heavy Metal, we’ll be blogging for every taste.

“Angel of Bergen-Belsen” by Curtis and Loretta

“In this nightmare camp of deathcurtisloretta
She would give them a chance at life instead”

Many regulars who attend our Friday at the Ford concerts know this story. In 2002 or 2003, Loretta Simonet read a newspaper article about a true hero, Luba Tryszynska-Frederick, a nurse who in December 1944 rescued 54 children from certain death from freezing and starving at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Luba defied the guards and brought the children into her barracks, and until the war ended, she fed them from the scraps that she could beg or steal. Only two died. The story so moved Loretta that she wrote a song of commemoration.

“Angel of Bergen-Belsen” as performed by Minneapolis-based folksingers Curtis and Loretta begins with Loretta plucking high and low notes on her Celtic harp before she sings “Children cried in her dreams…” Curtis harmonizes on choruses and adds guitar. On the compact disc Just My Heart for You, Sera Jane Smolen adds cello. Together they tell a dramatic story of hardship and hate overcome by courage and love.

Our library actually played a minor role in the story of the song. When Curtis and Loretta first performed the song here, it was brand new. Loretta mentioned that she had read that Luba was living in the United States. Hoping to present Luba with the song, Loretta was searching for a contact. Our reference staff pitched in and found some leads. Loretta reached Luba through a different source but discovered later that our leads would have succeeded, too.

Thomas Ford has a copy of Just My Heart for You in our music compact disc collection with a “A Friday at the Ford Artist” label attached. Look for CD 781.62 in the bins near the checkout desk.

Review by Rick

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This entry was posted on April 28, 2013 by in Folk, Music Review, Thommy Ford's Playlist and tagged , , .
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