Niki Jacobs: The Ballad of Mauthausen
The Ballad of Mauthausen is seen worldwide as one of the most gorgeous musical pieces ever to be written about the Second World War. It is a collaboration between the Greek poet Iakovos Kambanellis, who was a survivor of Kamp Mauthausen, and Mikis Theodorakis, the famous Greek composer banned for his activism against social injustice. Since it’s been over 75 years of liberation from the Nazi regime it felt like a perfect moment for Niki Jacobs to re-address this musical piece, resulting in a new, haunting and extraordinary composition of The Ballad of Mauthausen.
Niki Jacobs has been honored and praised by composer Mikis Theodorakis himself for her version of his music. She has made this project to connect two different worlds that she feels are still so important—the pre- and post-war lives of all those affected by the Second World War whether being European or American. Niki’s goal with this project is to raise attention for the events of the past, address injustices for the future, and connect and respect our differences in the present. In this project, Niki Jacobs has chosen to use a beautiful Yiddish translation, instead of the original Greek language used by poet Iakovos Kambabellis, to not only emphasize and give voice to those who perished in Europa and those who fled Eastern-Europe before, during and after the Second World War, but to also show that the Yiddish language is still alive and has been and is still a very important part of Jewish culture worldwide.
Photo credits: Header by Milo Dinkelaar. Thumbnail by Anne van Zantwijk