tv 60 Minutes CBS December 15, 2019 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
and ford. we go further, so you can. >> president trump is very nice and cool. and i'm nice and cool, too. >> in controlling the immigration crisis, the united states doesn't have a more central ally than el salvador and it's 38-year-old president nayib bukele. in the last year, 90,000 salvadorans were apprehended at the u.s. border. many were fleeing deadly gang violence. but after bukele agreed to a controversial asylum deal... el salvador is now-- has the same safety rating as denmark and france. does that sound right to you? >> it seems unlikely-- even
impossible- that music could have been performed and composed at a place like this: site of unspeakable evil, the most horrific mass murder in human history. more than a million men, women and children died here. for those who passed through this entrance, known as the" gate of death," these tracks were a path to genocide and terror. during the holocaust, an entire generation of talented musicians, composers and virtuosos perished. 75 years later, francesco lotoro is breathing life into their work. >> ( translated ): in some cases, we are in front of masterpieces that could have changed the path of musical language in europe if they had been written in a free world. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm jon wertheim. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories and more, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking )
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>> alfonsi: the country of el salvador is small... about the size of new jersey. but it plays a big role in the flow of migrants from central america to the united states. in the last 40 years, one in five salvadorans has moved here. half of them are undocumented. in the last year, 90,000 salvadorans have been apprehended at the u.s. border. now a populist president who's infatuated with twitter is trying to stop that. no, it's not president trump.
it's el salvador's new president, nayib bukele. he's 38-years-old. the millennial president's greatest challenge is to get rid of the violent gangs that control much of the country so businesses will come to el salvador and create jobs so his people don't leave. it's all connected and none of it's easy to fix. we were surprised just how blunt president bukele was about the problems facing el salvador. >> nayib bukele: the reality is that our whole economy is in-- is in shatters. nothing works. i mean-- >> alfonsi: that's a heck of a thing for a president of a country to say, that our whole economy is in shatters and nothing's working-- >> bukele: yes, yes. it's like a huge clock, the old ones with, you know, with the-- with the wheels-- >> alfonsi: interconnected. >> bukele: yes, so-- you can fix this one, but this one doesn't work. so the problem is you have to fix all the pieces of the clock so the clock might work. >> alfonsi: among the few things working with any precision in el
salvador are the deportation flights from the united states, chartered by u.s. immigration and customs enforcement and called "ice air." this plane arrived from texas carrying 104 salvadorans who entered the united states illegally. it costs american taxpayers $64,000 a flight to send them back. there are as many as five flights to el salvador a week. we saw the planes coming in with the deportees. and we spoke to some of the young men coming off those planes, and they said, "i'm gonna take a hot shower and i'm gonna try again." >> bukele: yes, they tr-- some-- some people, they try four or five times because they feel they have nothing to lose, but if you ask people that are not coming back on the planes, just people in the street-- most of the people would say, "i wanna stay in my country." >> alfonsi: it's not easy. a third live on less than $5.50 a day.
well-paying factory jobs have gone to asia and any work that can be found by young people is in low wage jobs in shops and restaurants. >> bukele: we have an economy that creates 20,000 jobs in a country that 100,000 kids get into-- into working age every year. so 80,000 stay out of a job. i mean, this is a country with-- a lot, a lot of problems. >> alfonsi: president nayib bukele, whose grandfather immigrated to el salvador from jerusalem, took office in june. the ad executive and former mayor of san salvador campaigned in a leather jacket and blue jeans as an outsider who could pull the country out of crisis. but first he has to get gang violence under control. ( woman crying ) salvadorans are caught in the middle of a turf war between the two largest gangs: ms-13 and barrio-18. according to the u.n., el salvador's murder rate is higher than any nation not at war.
>> bukele: this is not the same reality that you may face in the united states. >> alfonsi: but it's the reality here. >> bukele: but it's the reality here. and we have to work with this reality. i mean, we have to be very creative, because every-- every day that passes, people die. >> alfonsi: the gangs also affect the economy by shaking down businesses of all sizes. it's so widespread we were told shop owners limit their own profits to avoid becoming targets for extortion. everybody we spoke to, when we said, "who's in control, the government or the gangs?" they said, "both." both. >> bukele: they h-- they have-- a de facto power, a real one. they charge taxes. they actually say, "okay, if you pay this, we'll provide security for your business." they have a quasi-security force. they say, "this-this is-- ms-13 territory, and this is 18 revolutionaries territory." so they actually have borders between them.
>> alfonsi: to cross one of those borders, we had to wait until our salvadoran colleague got word that the gangs had given us permission to enter. ( speaking spanish ) we were instructed to drive slowly with hazard lights on and windows down...so the gangs could see there weren't any rival gang members in our car. we took this leap of faith to go to this church. its pastor is nelson moz, and he offers sanctuary to men looking to leave the gangs. according to the code of the streets the only way out of a gang is to die-- or become a born again christian. i think a lot of people in the united states think the gangs started in el salvador and moved to the united states. but that's not what happened? >> nelson moz ( translated ): the gangs were born in the united states. here they found gun powder to
set this entire country on fire. it was just incredible how quickly it took off. >> alfonsi: the birth of the gangs that pastor moz is describing started in the 1980s when the first wave of salvadoran migrants fled the country during its civil war. ( gunfire ) some formed gangs in los angeles. by the '90s, thousands of them who had broken the law in the u.s., were deported to el salvador and brought gang culture with them. the government here was too weak after the civil war to keep them in check. how strong are the conflicts between the two gangs? >> moz ( translated ): we've had some difficult moments because right down there at the street is where another gang's territory begins. >> alfonsi: down here? >> moz ( translated ): we're very close. from this street to the next one. >> alfonsi: pastor moz was afraid to take us more than 25 yards from his front door. this is "the limit," he said, because even he's not allowed to pass into another gang's
territory. >> bukele: it's like a parallel state in some-- in some communities. >> alfonsi: a parallel state. >> bukele: yes, a parallel state. >> alfonsi: would you ever negotiate with them? >> bukele: no. >> alfonsi: oh, why not? >> bukele: well, because you are giving them-- you're giving them legitimacy. ( sirens ) >> alfonsi: instead, bukele has declared war on the gangs. he's deployed 8,500 troops in a crackdown he calls "the territorial control plan." ( dogs barking ) we got a taste of it on a sweep in san salvador. it felt more like a counter- insurgency than a police patrol. residents seemed unfazed... as cops looked for weapons or drugs. and any young man that came across their path was examined for gang tattoos. when they do arrest somebody, they are brought to the nearest square. police told us it's for public shaming. ( sirens ) it's dragnets like this bukele credits for a steep drop in murders.
his government says since he took office, homicides fell from 231 in the month of june to 131 in november. the president gets an alert on his phone every time there is a murder. >> bukele: so i get homicide number one, in the day. "boop" then later in the day, "boop," homicide number two. >> alfonsi: why do you get those to your phone every day? why do you want to see that? >> bukele: i-- i don't want to see it. i have to see it. because then you can-- you can-- you can take measures immediately. >> alfonsi: one measure he's taken is to limit the reach of gang leaders inside el salvador's prisons. most prisons looked like this: leaders had free reign and would routinely use cell phones to direct their empires and order hits. the director of the prison system showed us how they have restored order inside the country's largest prison. first, they confiscated 6,000 cell phones from the 4,000 inmates here. that did not go over well.
>> warden cavin: they burned this area here that you are looking at two times-- they took hostages among the wardens. >> alfonsi: because of the phones? >> cavin: because of the phones, because of power, because of money. >> alfonsi: all those gray patches you see on the floor-- that's where guards dug up hidden phones, guns and explosives. gang leaders were also separated from everyone else. they are locked up for 23 hours a day behind these heavy green doors. is crime, in your mind, the biggest barrier to-- >> bukele: yes. >> alfonsi: to the-- to restoring-- >> bukele: yes. >> alfonsi: the econ-- ec-- >> bukele: yes. >> alfonsi: economics >> bukele: because anything that you do in-- attracting-- trying to attract-- investment, private investment, international investment --tourism, et cetera, everything will be stopped by if-- if the perception is that el salvador is a place that you will go and you will get killed. >> alfonsi: bukele is not without skeptics who have seen other salvadoran presidents get tough on crime only to become
inmates themselves for stealing government money and foreign aid. two of the last four presidents were arrested. another has fled the country. since 2016, the u.s. congress has approved more than $400 million in aid to el salvador. how do you assure americans that the money that is coming into your country gets to where it needs to be? >> bukele: i'm 38 right now. i started being president when i was 37. i don't want to be out-- i'm gonna be out of the presidency at 42. i really don't want to be in jail at 43, right? so, i mean, i'm not here to steal money. >> alfonsi: but bukele relishes in stealing the spotlight. whether it's taking a selfie before a speech at the united nations, firing government ministers on twitter, or carefully staging staff meetings for the television cameras. he's also gone out of his way to please president trump. >> bukele: president trump is very nice and cool. and i'm nice and cool, too.
>> alfonsi: in september, bukele agreed to a controversial deal that would allow the u.s. to send asylum seekers from any country to el salvador. critics told us it amounts to outsourcing america's asylum system to one of the most violent places in the world. how can you keep asylum seekers safe here if you can't keep the people who live here safe? >> bukele: yes, actually, this is an agreement-- that has a lot of ifs because... >> alfonsi: what do you mean ifs? >> bukele: well, these countries have to be a lot safer, a lot safer. >> alfonsi: a member of the president's inner circle said that-- asylum seekers could end up staying in el salvador, that that could happen. is el salvador prepared for that? >> bukele: well, not right now. we don't have asylum capacities, but we can build them. >> alfonsi: but you don't have it now. >> bukele: we don't have it now. when we have it-- >> alfonsi: and if he said, "i can throw up a tent." >> bukele: a tent. that's not-- that's not asylum capacity.
no. >> alfonsi: so why did he agree to the deal? bukele can't achieve his goals unless he stays on the good side of the u.s. it's already paid off. the white house released $51 million of aid it was holding back. and despite all the violence, the state department lowered the threat level for americans traveling to el salvador. it was in the same category as the congo and sudan. el salvador is now-- has the same safety rating as denmark and france. does that sound right to you? >> bukele: it also has the same, same safety rating than guatemala and honduras. >> alfonsi: but you can't walk around freely here. >> bukele: well-- >> alfonsi: as a tourist. i mean, we-- we were told there were certain streets we couldn't walk down-- >> bukele: that's true. >> alfonsi: unless we got approval from gang members first. >> bukele: yes. mostly-- mostly in gang- dominated communities. >> alfonsi: i don't think that happens in denmark. >> bukele: no, of course not, of course not. no, no, i'm not-- i'm not
comparing el salvador to denmark, no. >> alfonsi: but the exodus from el salvador has slowed. the trump administration credits bukele's efforts and tougher u.s. immigration policies for the drop in the number of salvadorans trying to enter the u.s.-- from more than 12,000 in june to 2,500 in october. >> bukele: it's our responsibility to create the conditions where people don't wanna flee our country. we don't have to be switzerland. we just have to be more similar to costa rica or panama and have our-- the people-- p-- our people wanting to stay there. >> alfonsi: 'cause they wanna be home. >> bukele: of course. everybody wants to be home. people will rather stay at their home with little than risk everything to try to find more. ( ticking ) when you retire will you or will you just be you, without the constraints of a full time job? you can grow your retirement savings with pacific life and create the future that's most meaningful to you.
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>> wertheim: the sign above the steel gates of auschwitz reads" arbeit macht frei." "work sets you free." it was, of course, a chilling lie, an evil hoax. but there was one surprising source of temporary escape inside the gates: music.eationae imprisoned. and what's not widely known is that under the bleakest conditions imaginable, they performed and wrote music. lots of it. more than six million people- most of them jews-- died in the holocaust. but their music did not, thanks in part to the extraordinary work of francesco lotoro. an italian composer and pianist, lotoro has spent 30 years recovering, performing, and in some cases, finishing pieces of work composed in captivity. nearly 75 years after the camps were liberated, francesco lotoro is on a remarkable rescue mission, reviving music like
this piece created by a young jewish woman in a nazi concentration camp in 1944. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> francesco lotoro ( translated ): the miracle is that all of this could have been destroyed, could have been lost. and instead the miracle is that this music reaches us. music is a phenomenon which
wins. that's the secret of the concentration camps. no one can take it away. no one can imprison it. >> wertheim: it seems unlikely-- even impossible- that music could have been performed and composed at a place like this site of unspeakable evil, the most horrific mass murder in human history. this is auschwitz birkenau, the nazi concentration camp in southern poland. set up by the germans in 1940 as part of hitler's "final solution," it became the largest center in the world for the extermination of jews. more than a million men, women and children died here. for those who passed through this entrance, known as the" gate of death," these tracks were a path to genocide and terror. after they disembarked from cattle cars, most were sent directly to their deaths in the gas chambers. the sounds of the camp included
the screech of train brakes, haunting screams of families separated, forever... the staccato orders barked by s.s. guards. but also in the air: the sound of music, the language of the gods. this piece, titled "fantasy," was written for oboe and strings, composed by a prisoner in poland in 1942. at auschwitz, as at other camps, there were inmate orchestras, set up by the nazis to play marches and entertain. there was also unofficial music, crafted in secret, a way of preserving some dignity where little otherwise existed. during the holocaust, an entire generation of talented musicians, composers and virtuosos perished. 75 years later, francesco lotoro is breathing life into their work. >> lotoro ( translated ): in some cases, we are in front of
masterpieces that could have changed the path of musical language in europe if they had been written in a free world. >> wertheim: francesco lotoro's work may culminate in stirring musical performances, but that's just the last measure, so to speak. his rescue missions, largely self-financed, begin the old fashioned way: with lots of hard work, knocking on doors, and face-to-face meetings with survivors and their relatives. i have heard that you've searched attics and basements. i imagine sometimes families don't even know the musical treasure they have. >> lotoro ( translated ): there are children who have inherited all the paper material from their dad who survived the camp and stored it. when i recovered it, it was literally infested with paper worms. so, before taking it, a clean-up operation was required, a de- infestation. >> wertheim: lotoro grew up and still lives in barletta, an ancient town on the adriatic coast of southern italy.
his modest home, which doubles as his office, is stuffed with tapes, audio cassettes, diaries and microfilm. aided by his wife, grazia, who works at the local post office to support the family, lotoro has collected and catalogued more than 8,000 pieces of music, including symphonies, operas, folk songs, and gypsy tunes, scribbled on everything from food wrapping to telegrams, even potato sacks. ♪ ♪ the prisoner who composed this piece used the charcoal given to him as dysentery medicine and toilet paper to write an entire symphony which was later smuggled out in the camp laundry. he's using his dysentery medication as a pen and he's using toilet paper as paper >> lotoro ( translated ): yes >> wertheim: and that's how he writes a symphony. >> lotoro ( translated ): yes, when you lost freedom, toilet paper and coal can be freedom. >> wertheim: it's a testament to resourcefulness- how far artists will go to create. it's also a testament to the
range of emotions that prisoners experienced. what kind of music is this? this is 1944 in buchenwald, in a camp. >> lotoro ( translated ): this here a march. >> wertheim: this is a march? >> lotoro ( translated ): this surely to be scored for orchestra. it's a march >> wertheim: lotoro isn't just collecting this music, he's arranging it and sometimes finishing these works. is this completed work or is this only partial? >> lotoro ( translated ): no, they're only the melodies >> wertheim: this tender composition was written by a pole while he was in buchenwald concentration camp. ♪ ♪ lotoro says that if music like this isn't performed, it's as if it's still imprisoned in the camps. it hasn't been freed. ♪ ♪ this wasn't an obvious calling for an italian who was raised roman catholic, but from age 15,
lotoro says, he felt the pull of another religion. you converted to judaism. you say you have a jewish soul. define what that means. >> lotoro ( translated ): there was a rabbi who explained to me that when a person converts to judaism, in reality he doesn't convert. he goes back to being jewish. doing this research is possibly the most jewish thing that i know. we jews have a word which expresses this concept. mitzvah. it is not something that someone tells you you must do, you know as a jew that you must do it. >> wertheim: lotoro's quest began in 1988 when he learned about the music created by prisoners in the czech concentration camp theresienstadt. the nazis had set up the camp to fool the world into believing they were treating jews humanely. inmates were allowed to create
and stage performances, some of which survive in this nazi propaganda film. lotoro was amazed by the level of musicianship and wondered what else was out there. he reached out to bret werb, music curator at the u.s. holocaust memorial museum, in washington, d.c. werb says francesco lotoro is building on the legacy of others who have searched for concentration camp music, but lotoro is taking it to the next level, making the scores performable. why did people in concentration camps turn to music? >> bret werb: it helped people to cope. it helped people to escape. it gave people something to do. it allowed them to comment on the experiences that they were undergoing. >> wertheim: did music save lives during the holocaust? >> werb: there is no doubt that being a member of an orchestra increased your chances of survival. >> wertheim: anita lasker wallfisch is one of the last surviving members of the women's orchestra at auschwitz. she is now 94-years-old.
we met her at her home in london. what had you heard about the camp before you arrived? >> anita lasker-wallfisch: we heard everything that was going on there only we didn't- still tried not to believe it. but by the time i arrived there, in fact, i knew it was a reality, gas chambers and yeah. >> wertheim: you came prepared for the worst. >> lasker-wallfisch: i came prepared for the worst, yes. >> wertheim: her parents, german jews, were taken away in 1942 and she never saw them again. she was just 18 when she arrived at the death camp a year later. >> lasker-wallfisch: we were put in some sort of block and waited all night, and the next morning there was a sort of welcome ceremony and there were lots of people sitting there doing the reception business. like tattooing you, taking your hair off, etc. that's all done by prisoners themselves. >> wertheim: the numbers are still visible on her left arm. >> lasker-wallfisch: i was led to a girl, also a prisoner, and
a sort of normal conversation took place. and then she asked me what was i doing before the war. and like an idiot, i don't know, i said "i used to play the cello." she said "that's fantastic."" you'll be saved," she said. i had no idea what she was talking about. >> wertheim: and that's how you heard there was an orchestra? >> lasker-wallfisch: yeah. >> wertheim: and this is your salvation? >> lasker-wallfisch: that was my salvation, yeah. >> wertheim: the conductor of the orchestra was virtuoso violinist alma rose, neice of the famous viennese composer, gustav mahler. anita lasker wallfisch says rose, a prisoner herself, had an iron discipline and tried to focus attention away from the profound misery of the camp. >> lasker-wallfisch: i remember that we were scared stiff of her. she was very much the boss. and she knew very well that if she did not succeed to make a reasonable orchestra there, we wouldn't survive. so it was a tremendous responsibility this poor woman had. >> wertheim: the orchestra members all lived together in a
wooden barracks like this in block 12 at birkenau, known as "the music block." >> lasker-wallfisch: we were based very near the crematoria. we could see everything that was going on. >> wertheim: you're practicing your orchestra and you can see everything going on. >> lasker-wallfisch: yeah, i mean, once you are inside auschwitz, you knew what was going on, you know. >> wertheim: how do you play music pretending to ignore everything going on around you? >> lasker-wallfisch: you arrive in auschwitz you are prepared to go to the gas chamber. somebody puts a cello in your hand, and you have a chance of life. are you going to say "i'm sorry i don't play here, i play in carnegie hall?" i mean, people have funny ideas about what its like to arrive in a place where you know you're going to be killed. >> wertheim: what i hear you say is that your ability to play the cello saved your life. >> lasker-wallfisch: yeah, simple as that. >> wertheim: the main function of the camp orchestras: playing marches for prisoners every day here at the main gate, a way, literally to set the tempo for a day of work. and a way to count the inmates. right here is where the men's
orchestra played? >> lotoro ( translated ): yes there was like a procession and the orchestra played there >> wertheim: the orchestras also played when new arrivals disembarked from trains at birkenau to give a sense of normalcy-- tricking newcomers into thinking it was a hospitable place. this, when at the height of the killings, nazis were murdering thousands of men, women and children each day. evidence of the scope and scale of the atrocity still exists here: mountains of shoes, suitcases, glasses, shaving brushes-- murder on an industrial scale. auschwitz archivists showed us some of the instruments that were taken out of the camp by orchestra members at the end of the war and later donated to the museum: this clarinet, a violin, and an accordion, as well as some of the music they played. this is the prisoner's orchestra
the concentration camp auschwitz >> yes >> wertheim: and this is the inventory of instruments. >> yes, what is inside. >> wertheim: the orchestras also gave concerts on sundays for prisoners and for s.s. officers. anita lasker-wallfisch remembers playing for the infamous dr. josef mengele, known as "the angel of death." mengele conducted medical experiments on prisoners. his notorious infirmary still stands just steps from the railroad tracks in birkenau. >> lasker-wallfisch: what was interesting is that these people, these arch criminals, were not uneducated people. >> wertheim: that this monstrous man could still appreciate schumann. >> lasker-wallfisch: yeah >> wertheim: how do you reconcile that? >> lasker-wallfisch: i don't >> wertheim: francesco lotoro took us to another location where the auschwitz camp orchestra played for nazi officers and their families. it's just feet from the crematorium, and within sight of the house of camp commandant rudolf hess. you were saying sometimes the
smoke from the crematorium was so thick the musicians couldn't even see the notes in front of them. >> lotoro ( translated ): yes, it happened. >> wertheim: it happened. >> lotoro ( translated ): and its tragic. life and death were together. >> wertheim: life and death were intermingling. >> lotoro ( translated ): and the point of connection of life and death is music. this is all we have about life in the camp. life disappeared. we have only music. for me, music is the life that remained. >> wertheim: music may be the life that remained, music like this 1942 piece titled" fantasy," but it is the people behind the music that animate francesco lotoro's long and ambitious project. their compositions created at a time when fundamental values were in danger. today, as the number of holocaust survivors dwindles, it's more often their descendants lotoro tracks down.
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( ticking ) >> wertheim: for 30 years, italian composer and pianist francesco lotoro has been on an all-consuming quest to collect music created by prisoners during the holocaust. as he travels the world, mostly on his own dime, he is both a detective and an archaeologist, digging through the past to recover and discover actual artifacts.
but maybe even more important, he meets with survivors and their family members to excavate the stories behind the music. we traveled to nuremberg, germany, to meet waldemar kropinski. he is the son of jozef kropinski, perhaps the most prolific and versatile composer in the entire camp constellation. waldemar kropinski says his father's work was totally unknown before francesco lotoro brought it to light. >> waldemar kropinski ( translated ): i thought it was something that was of no interest to anyone because my father was already dead and not even one camp composition of his was performed in poland. >> wertheim: jozef kropinski, a roman catholic, was 26 when he was caught working for the polish resistance and sent to auschwitz, where he became first violinist in the men's orchestra and started secretly composing, first for himself, and then for other prisoners. ♪ ♪
in 1942, he wrote this piece that he titled "resignation." ♪ ♪ >> kropinski ( translated ): this is the list my father did seven months before his death. >> wertheim: oh, this was all of his music. kropinski wrote hundreds of pieces of music during his four years of imprisonment- at auschwitz and later at buchenwald-- including tangos, waltzes, love songs, even an opera in two parts. still more astonishing, he composed most of them at night, by candlelight, in this tiny room- the nazis diabolically called a pathology lab-- where during the day, bodies were dismembered. other prisoners had secured the space for kropinski so he could have a quiet place to compose. this is where he worked? this is the pathology room where the cadavers mounted and he wrote music.
>> kropinski ( translated ): yes. >> wertheim: paper was in short supply, so kropinski wrote music on items like this stolen nazi requisition form. >> kropinski ( translated ): because on the other side you had clean paper and my father could write notes. >> wertheim: what's the name of this piece? >> kropinski ( translated ): a set of christmas songs for a string quartet. >> wertheim: that's right, a few feet from piles of dead bodies, jozef kropinski wrote a suite of holiday songs. waldemar says his father did it all to help raise the spirits of his fellow prisoners. >> kropinski ( translated ): his music was really touching hearts and very positive. it was important that the prisoners could hear something else in this time, something touching, so that they could go back in their memory to the old times, and feel encouraged. >> wertheim: in april 1945, as the allies approached buchenwald, the camp was
evacuated and inmates were forced on a death march. kropinski was able to smuggle out his violin and hundreds of pieces of music, some hidden in his violin case and others in a secret coat pocket, but only 117 survive today. on the march, he sacrificed the rest to build a fire for his fellow prisoners. you're saying your father took paper on which he had written compositions and used that to start a fire to give people heat to save their lives? >> kropinski ( translated ): yes, not only his life but the lives of others. >> wertheim: francesco lotoro says kropinski, like so many other musicians, hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves. >> lotoro ( translated ): he was a man who obviously suffered a lot in the camps, but made himself available to others, creating music. he was a man who must be understood not only as a musician, but as someone who created solidarity, created unison in the camps.
>> wertheim: when did you first come into contact with francesco lotoro? >> christoph kulisiewicz: francesco lotoro called me and he told me that he heard about my father, that he heard about his mission about his music, i couldn't believe my ears. so i, immediately i wanted to meet him. >> wertheim: we wanted to see what one of lotoro's recovery missions looked like in practice, so we went along with him to the medieval city of krakow, one of the oldest towns in southern poland, to meet christoph kulisiewicz. >> kulisiewicz: oh, francesco, are you here again in krakow? that's fine, come in. >> wertheim: christoph is the son of aleksander kulisiewicz, a pole imprisoned by the gestapo for anti-fascist writings and deported to sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1939. >> kulisiewicz: you see this is, for instance, the original ( humming and singing )
>> wertheim: during more than five years of imprisonment, kulisiewicz became something of a "camp troubadour," helping inmates cope with their hunger and despair, and performing songs like this at secret gatherings. but he didn't just compose and sing. he also used his extraordinary powers of recall- memorizing hundreds of songs by other prisoners, which he dictated to a nurse after the war, so they could be recorded. >> kulisiewicz: lullaby from the birkenau, yes. ( both singing ) ♪ ♪ >> wertheim: christoph kulisiewicz says his father
considered the songs to be a form of oral history- not just giving hope to his fellow inmates but laying bare the truth of what was happening inside the camp. >> kulisiewicz: he always said," i am living for those who died. they can't sing, they can't talk, but i can." >> wertheim: it sounds like music was a way to find just a slice of dignity, of humanity. >> kulisiewicz: exactly. >> wertheim: amid all this horrible stuff. >> kulisiewicz: exactly. that is what my father used to say, the slice of dignity. he said, "as long as you can sing and compose and you keep it in your mind, and the s.s. officer doesn't know what you keep in your mind, you are free." >> wertheim: what was it like for you the first time you heard your father's work, sort of, brought out of the shadows by francesco lotoro and performed? what was that like for you? >> kulisiewicz: it was amazing. it was amazing because i never thought that it would come to life again, and now it was like
the voice of my father coming back as a real music again. so he was, you know, living again for me. >> wertheim: waldemar kropinski can relate to the joy of finally hearing his father's music performed. >> kropinski ( translated ): it was a very personal feeling. even today, although i know these pieces, i go back and listen to them often, and every time i hear them, i cry. >> wertheim: to date, francesco lotoro has arranged and recorded 400 works composed in the camps, including those by aleksander kulisiewicz and jozef kropinski, and this piece by a jewish musician in theriesendtadt. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ this spring, lotoro will perform some of them at a concert to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camps. ♪ ♪ >> lotoro ( translated ): what happened in the camps is more than an artistic phenomena. we have to think of this music as a last testament. we have to perform this music like beethoven, mahler, schumann. these musicians, for me, wanted only one desire: that this music can be performed. >> wertheim: lotoro is building what he calls a "citadel" in his hometown of barletta. thanks to a grant from the italian government, in february he plans to break ground at this abandoned distillery. a campus for the study of concentrationary music, it will include a library, a museum, a theater, and will house more than 10,000 items lotoro has collected.
>> lotoro ( translated ): the real beneficiaries of this music aren't us who are researching it, not this generation. the generation that will benefit from it, that will enjoy this music, is the generation of those who will come in 30 or 40 years. it's an operation which is completely for the future. >> wertheim: he is continuing to raise funds from the public and hopes to complete the project in four years. you described what you're doing as a mitzvah, this jewish term for a good deed. i think a lot of people would say what you're doing goes well beyond a good deed. >> lotoro ( translated ): i don't know, maybe i am doing a good thing. when i complete this research we'll talk about it again. and then we will see if we truly did more than doing a good thing. for the time being i only see
all of this as expensive, difficult, at times discouraging, but it has to be done until the end. ♪ ♪ >> wertheim: like a musician who benefits from word of mouth, francesco lotoro and his remarkable work are starting to build a worldwide fan base. just last month alone, he performed in toronto, jerusalem, and at this concert hall in sao paolo, brazil. and that's where we end our story tonight, as francesco lotoro brings to life the music he has rescued. ( ticking ) >> a holocaust survivor on being a witness to history. >> to actually see somebody who has been there makes a difference. >> at 60minutesovertime.com. sponsored by ibrance. thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer,
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february called "the chibok girls." in nigeria, we met a group of young women who had been kidnapped, held captive and abused for years by the terrorist group boko haram. after being freed, they were continuing their education and therapy at a special school designed for them at the american university of nigeria. one of the students was grace dauda, whose leg was severely broken when she was kidnapped. a few weeks ago grace and her fellow student rebecca mallum arrived in new york for specialized medical care for their injuries. >> tell me a little bit about the pain that you have? where do you feel pain? >> stahl: grace had orthopedic surgery this past wednesday, which doctors hope will help her walk again without a cane. i'm lesley stahl. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." ♪ everybody needs somebody... ♪
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captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org announcer: tonightthe kennedy center honors celebrates... linda ronstadt, ten-time grammy winner and one of the most versatile vocalists of all time; sally field, iconic two-time academy award- and three-time emmy award-winning actress; sesame street, the groundbreaking series that revolutionized children's television; michael tilson thomas, the 11-time grammy-winning composer and conductor of the san francisco symphony; and earth, wind & fire, the legendary nine-time grammy-winning r&b institution. we applaud these extraordinary artists for their enduring inspiration. and now, please welcome your host,