Defiant Requiem - 7 stars out of 10
“This room became the protective walls of something good, something meaningful, something healing, and something that showed everyone who was really listening that Raffi had put all of us, the singers and the audience, into another world. This was NOT the world of the Nazis. This was OUR world.”
“Defiant Requiem” is the chilling story of Raphael Schächter: a musician, Jew, prisoner at the Terezin concentration camp, and the leader of a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. His statement was bold, using the Latin funeral text as a means to tell the Nazis that their own day of judgment would come. This film tells his story through a modern conductor, Murry Sidlin. This conductor has organized a concert as a tribute to the brave rebels who worked all day in the camp and rehearsed all night to make a beautiful and powerful statement against their captors. It also reveals the obstacles that Schächter had to overcome as he taught every note and piece of Latin text by rote while many of his choir members were deported to Auschwitz throughout the concert preparation. The interesting twist in this film is that the learning of the piece evolved from a rebellious statement to a necessary routine for these Jews to keep their humanity. “Defiant Requiem” is a multifaceted documentary that explores an untold piece of Holocaust lore, the dark setting of the Requiem by Verdi, and the power of music to unite a people.