The Nazi memory expert

The Holocaust Revisited: Feeling the Pain

Diana Sevanian

Signal Staff Writer



In 1976, I married the son of a concentration-camp survivor — a non-Jewish, former Russian soldier. Through the years, I heard many of my father-in-law’s camp memories. I knew Ara Sevanian had been beaten and starved, hauled off semi-conscious for mass burial with a heap of lifeless Jews and others who’d shared his rickety horse-pulled cart.

I knew that the Nazi soldier driving that wagon recognized my classical-musician father-in-law from a concert he performed for Stalin before the war. Amazingly, that German guard decided instead to let Ara live and play for the troops.

Evidently the guy preferred Mahler to murder.


Diana Sevanian is a Signal staff writer. Her column represents her own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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Note: It’s difficult to decide which is more fantastic — a Nazi soldier at a concert for Joseph Stalin in the USSR, or a concert-goer’s ability to remember the face of one musician out of an orchestra after many years and in utterly different circumstances.