On May 7, 2020, composer and Holocaust survivor Harry Bialor passed away from COVID-19 at the age of 90.
Born in 1930 in Bialystok, Poland, Bialor lost his parents and three siblings in the Holocaust when he was only 12 years old. He survived for two years in a bunker by stealing food and livestock for nourishment. Before the war however, he went to Munich conservatory for two years.
After the war, he spent five years in a displaced persons camp in Germany and emigrated to the U.S. in 1951. He went to Brooklyn, New York where he worked as a businessman and attended the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music for two years.
Bialor’s past experiences would play a major part in the composition of his operas.
He made his operatic debut at the age of 82 with his first work “Masada,” which had its world premiere at the JCC of Staten Island. In October 2019 his work “The Uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto” had its world pemiere.
Reflecting on the work and its significance, Bialor told News 12 Brooklyn, “When we are gone, nobody will be there to tell the story so it has to be in books, in plays and in an opera.”