Nazi troops liked to listen to live music after a "long day of killing" in Auschwitz, a survivor of the horrific death camp has revealed.
In 1941, during the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis began their campaign of exterminating Jews in earnest.
By the end of the year, they had killed half a million people, but Nazi commanders wanted to find a more efficient way to commit mass murder that wouldn't cause too much stress on their soldiers.
By the winter of 1941, gas chambers had been constructed at Auschwitz and by the time of the Soviet liberation on January 27, 1945, over one million people had been killed there.
People from all over Europe were crammed into cattle wagons and transported to the death camp.
There they were sorted into those who could work – able bodied men and women – and those who were to be immediately killed – the elderly and children.
One of the women who survived the initial selection process was Fania Fénelon – a French pianist, composer and cabaret singer, as well as member of the French Resistance, whose father was Jewish.
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In 1943, she had been betrayed by one of her fellow resistance fighters who was a double agent working for the Nazis and was shipped off to Auschwitz.
Auschwitz – often referred to as the most notorious concentration camp of WW2 – had something unique in its orchestra of inmates.
Its purpose was to sedate new arrivals to what was happening in the camp, provide a rhythmic beat to those who worked, and also to give relief to the Nazi troops after a long day of killing.
This orchestra is what saved Fania's life, as she was chosen to perform for the Nazis.
Speaking on the American TV show, 60 Minutes, she said: "On my second day this big Polish woman came in and suddenly screamed, 'who can sing and play Madama Butterfly? If you can sing and play Madama Butterfly, come with me'."
She added: "The SS, they killed people and then they came to listen to music and cried.
"They were killing people all day and sometimes all night, sometimes they came to our barrack at three o'clock in the morning. I remember singing Madama Butterfly at three o'clock in the morning for a bunch of SS who were very tired of killing people."
As the war progressed and Germany seemed to be losing, Nazi authorities were determined to erase the evidence of their crimes and ordered 56,000 prisoners to march west to other concentration camps, such as Bergen-Belsen, which is where Fania was moved to.
Bergen-Belsen was eventually liberated by British troops in April 1945 and Fania would go on to live until the age of 75, dying in 1983 due to cancer and heart disease.
Only three months earlier, Soviet troops had managed to liberate Auschwitz, finding only a few thousand survivors when they entered the camp.
Elie Wiesel later said in a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the liberation that the Nazi crimes at Auschwitz "produced a mutation on a cosmic scale, affecting man's dreams and endeavours".
"After Auschwitz, the human condition is no longer the same. After Auschwitz, nothing will ever be the same."
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