Wisnia Holocaust memoir revised

Avi Wisnia, at left, accompanied his grandfather David, a cantor and Nazi death camp survivor, at Bucknell University in April.

LEWISBURG — A second edition of the memoirs of Cantor David Wisnia is soon to be released.

Wisnia, who survived the Auschwitz death camp, escaped from Nazi captivity then joined the 101st Airborne, has spoken twice in Lewisburg in recent years. Talks and songs recounting his experience accompanied by his grandson Avi have been given at Bucknell University and in conjunction with the Union County Veteran’s 4th of July Parade.

The second edition of “One Voice, Two Lives, a Holocaust Memoir” will contain additional information and new illustrations.

“There will be new visuals like new maps showing the route he went from childhood in Warsaw through Auschwitz to Hoboken, N.J. and his time with the Army,” Avi said. “But there will also be a new chapter from my father and updated photos of the family and our travels together.”

Avi, a noted musician, said a new chapter he has written has put a coda on an unfinished portion of David’s story.

“(There) was a girlfriend he had when he was a prisoner in the concentration camp,” Avi noted. “We later reunited (them) 70 years later in New York City just a few years ago.”

A screenplay based on the book was still a possibility. Avi said inquiries were still being fielded from interested writers.

Avi noted that his grandmother, David’s wife, died in the last year.

“It is a good thing that (David) has a lot of speaking engagements and concerts and that people are still interested in his story,” Avi said. “Not only is it important for him to talk about (it) but it is also keeping him connected with people and giving him a renewed sense of purpose.”

Everywhere he goes, David gets similar welcomes to what he received in Lewisburg. Avi noted that middle school and high school students pay especially close attention.

“They are just rapt around every word he is saying,” Avi observed. “It is really incredible to see how much respect the kids give him and how moved they are by his story.”

Avi noted that the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz would be coming up in the next month. David has always wanted to return to Poland one last time though long-distance trips are rare for him these days.

David will get his wish and be singing at a commemorative ceremony at the invitation of the Polish government on what is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at matt@standard-journal.com.

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