2 concerts honor victims of the Nazis

"It was a very moving occasion," said Gaby Flatow of the Hans Krasa Foundation Fund, which has promoted and published the music of Terezin prisoners since 1995. "We have never had such a packed concert at the cultural center. Many people had to stand for the performance."

In contrast to the tribute at Terezin, a concert this week at another concentration camp site was not universally praised. The Vienna Philharmonic performed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the quarry of the Mauthausen concentration camp, near Vienna. Critics said Sunday's concert demeaned the memory of those who perished there.

In Terezin, the performance of works written by composers who died in the Holocaust was better received.

It was Shimura herself who raised Japanese interest in a brand-new piano for Terezin.

In a previous performance at the center last year, she had used a small upright piano on which a young Gideon Klein had written a sonata before being sent to his death in Auschwitz. It lacked the quality of a concert instrument so she formed a Japanese organization called Grand Piano for Terezin, which raised the money for a new piano.

The event included performances by Czech and German artists and featured works by Scarlatti, Beethoven and the Japanese contemporary composer Hikaru Hayashi.

"The idea is not to create another music ghetto here in Terezin but to perform a range of works by different international artists," Flatow explained.

Terezin, which lies nearly 40 miles from Prague, was a so-called "model" camp that also served as a transit point to the Nazi death camps.

By May 1945, the Nazis had transported 140,000 people to Terezin, including some of Europe's most gifted artists, musicians and composers.