Anita Lasker-Wallfisch

In this interview the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch discusses her childhood in Breslau, studying cello with Leo Rostal in Berlin, being imprisoned for trying to escape to France, playing cello in the camp orchestra in Auschwitz, being liberated in Bergen-Belsen, arriving in Britain in 1946, starting to work as a musician in London, becoming a founder member of the English Chamber Orchestra and being part of a community of musical émigrés in London.

She also speaks about her husband Hans Peter Wallfisch, his career as a concert pianist and his time as a professor at the Royal College of Music, and about other émigrés including the violinist Maria Lidka and the pianist Alice Herz–Sommer.


Cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was born in Breslau in 1925. She studied cello with Leo Rostal in Berlin and returned to Breslau after the Kristallnacht in 1938. Her parents were murdered by the Nazis in 1942 and she was brought to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943, where she had to play cello in the camp orchestra. In 1944 she was moved to Bergen Belsen camp where she survived until the end of the war.

In 1946 she emigrated to London with her sister.  She then studied at the Guildhall School of Music and married the pianist Peter Wallfisch. She co-founded the English Chamber Orchestra. She published her memoirs “Inherit the Truth” in 1996.

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