1919, Larvik — I XII 1942, KL Auschwitz-Birkenau

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Biography

Marie (Maja) Sachnowitz was a highly valued singer from Larvik. For several years she entertained her audience with jazz-inspired music.

Born in Larvik in 1919, she was the middle child of eight siblings, all born between 1910-1925. Her parents, Sara and Israel Leib, immigrated from Tsarist Russia in the early 20th century. Her mother was born in Riga, in what is today Lativa, and her father was born in Krasnopolye in Russia. By the interwar period, the Sachnowitz family, who all had an ear for music, had become a well-integrated part of the local community and participated in the city’s revue, music and association life.

Like the rest of the family, Marie participated in the cultural life in Larvik. She worked as a saleswoman and maid, but her passion was music. In addition to being an excellent pianist, she had a beautiful voice, and it is for her singing that she became known. She was praised for her performances in Larvik by the newspapers on several occasions. In the summer of 1940, she joined the jazz orchestra „Harmony Kings”, which in addition to eight other members, consisted of her brothers Martin and Herman Sachnowitz. Both were very accomplished with wind instruments.

Marie Sachnowitz was arrested on 26 November 1942 and deported on the ship DS Donau later that same day. Her father, brothers, and fiancé Idar Paltiel from Trondheim, suffered the same fate. During the crossing, Marie was given permission to sing the romantic hit „The Moonbeam” for the other prisoners. In the cargo hold just below, where the Jewish men were confined , Idar and the rest of Marie’s family heard the familiar voice, as the Donau sailed out of the Oslo Fjord. Later, her brother Herman, the only survivor of the Sachnowitz family, described this moment in his memoirs. The other few surviving men from the transport, who found themselves in a very humiliating situation, never forgot her beautiful voice either. 

When DS Donau docked in Szczecin all the prisoners were unloaded into cattle wagons and transported on by train. Marie, like other Jewish women and children from Norway, was sent directly to the gas chambers when they arrived in Auschwitz on 1 December 1942.


Photo of Marie skiing with her sister Rita. From the collection of Oslo Jewish

 


From a family album. From the collection of Oslo Jewish

Marie (Maja) Sachnowitz was a highly valued singer from Larvik. For several years she entertained her audience with jazz-inspired music.

Born in Larvik in 1919, she was the middle child of eight siblings, all born between 1910-1925. Her parents, Sara and Israel Leib, immigrated from Tsarist Russia in the early 20th century. Her mother was born in Riga, in what is today Lativa, and her father was born in Krasnopolye in Russia. By the interwar period, the Sachnowitz family, who all had an ear for music, had become a well-integrated part of the local community and participated in the city’s revue, music and association life.

Like the rest of the family, Marie participated in the cultural life in Larvik. She worked as a saleswoman and maid, but her passion was music. In addition to being an excellent pianist, she had a beautiful voice, and it is for her singing that she became known. She was praised for her performances in Larvik by the newspapers on several occasions. In the summer of 1940, she joined the jazz orchestra „Harmony Kings”, which in addition to eight other members, consisted of her brothers Martin and Herman Sachnowitz. Both were very accomplished with wind instruments.

Marie Sachnowitz was arrested on 26 November 1942 and deported on the ship DS Donau later that same day. Her father, brothers, and fiancé Idar Paltiel from Trondheim, suffered the same fate. During the crossing, Marie was given permission to sing the romantic hit „The Moonbeam” for the other prisoners. In the cargo hold just below, where the Jewish men were confined , Idar and the rest of Marie’s family heard the familiar voice, as the Donau sailed out of the Oslo Fjord. Later, her brother Herman, the only survivor of the Sachnowitz family, described this moment in his memoirs. The other few surviving men from the transport, who found themselves in a very humiliating situation, never forgot her beautiful voice either. 

When DS Donau docked in Szczecin all the prisoners were unloaded into cattle wagons and transported on by train. Marie, like other Jewish women and children from Norway, was sent directly to the gas chambers when they arrived in Auschwitz on 1 December 1942.

1919, Larvik — I XII 1942, KL Auschwitz-Birkenau

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