How singing saved a Holocaust survivor


An award-winning documentary about Holocaust survivor, cantor and military veteran David “Saba” Wisnia, How Saba Kept Singing, is coming to the Center on the Hill on Dec. 8 from 1- 3 p.m. 

The documentary, which follows Wisnia from his imprisonment at Auschwitz to his return almost 80 years later, reflects on his position as a privileged prisoner, which he earned because of his beautiful singing voice. 

After escaping a death march to Dachau, Wisnia met up with and joined the 101st Airborne Division, and worked as an interpreter and civilian aide. He then immigrated to the United States.

Eventually, he shared his experiences with his family, and in 2015 he published the memoir, “One Voice, Two Lives: From Auschwitz Prisoner to 101st Airborne Trooper”.

Decades after his liberation from Auschwitz, Wisnia and his grandson, Avi Wisnia, began performing music that David composed while in the camps. In 2015, the pair traveled across Poland for a series of performances marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

For years, Wisnia’s story centered on the idea that his singing voice saved him and carried him through his two years at Auschwitz. After reuniting with a fellow prisoner 72 years later, he learned how much a love story also played a part. 

Directed by Sara Taksler and Executive Produced by Hillary Clinton, David Wisnia’s story shows how love can take hold in the most difficult of places. An uplifting story about music, love and resilience, Center on the Hill is thrilled to be the Philadelphia location for this National Tour. Other cities hosting this event include Boston, Sarasota, Cherry Hill, Miami, Bridgeport, Toledo and Omaha.

Avi Wisnia, David Wisnia’s grandson and accomplished singer, songwriter, storyteller and educator, will be present on the 8th to perform some of “Saba’s Songs” on piano and to answer questions following the film. 

To register for this event, please contact Mariangela Saavedra at 215-247-4654 or