Masha Piotrkowska z"l, mandolin player at the women’s orchestra in Auschwitz
Masha was a self-taught mandolin player who came from a musical family.
When she arrived to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943, she was selected to play in the women's orchestra under conductor Alma Rose, who was the niece of Gustav Mahler.
Playing the mandolin and being a member of the women's orchestra saved Masha's life.
In 1945, when Auschwitz concentration camp was liquidated, Masha and her fellow orchestra members were deported to Bergen-Belsen (liberated by the British in 1945).
Later, during her stay in Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp until 1949, Masha received a Mandolin-Banjo (photo) and continued to play in a band with her friends.

Masha's Mandolin-Banjo was donated to the Holocaust museum in Skokie (Illinois) by her children

Masha Piotrkowska photo: courtesy of Ken Rapoport
© They Played for Their Lives - Gail Levin & Ken Rapoport