Mouthpiece of trumpet played by Louis Bannet in the Birkenau orchestra
Gift of Louis Bannet
Id no. 2000.A.567, Musical instrument
Subject(s):  Camps-death, Music
Prior the war, Bannet (b. Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1911) was a successful entertainer, known as the ?Dutch Louis Armstrong.? With the German invasion in 1940, Bannet went into hiding with the Dutch underground, until he was discovered and deported to Westerbork, then Auschwitz-Birkenau. Upon arrival in Birkenau, Bannet learned that he could have a chance to survive, at least for a while, as a member of the Men?s Orchestra. Bannet played with the orchestra for more than two years, entertaining his captors and forced to accompany the march to death of many of the 1.3 million who were murdered in the gas chambers of Birkenau during this period. Most of Bannet?s own family members were among those killed at Birkenau, including his sisters and their children. Later, Bannet passed through other concentration camps, in Ohrdruf, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald. Throughout all the years of the war, Bannet managed to keep his trumpet. He and his brother survived through the end of the war. Later, Bannet married a fellow survivor and moved to Amsterdam. Eventually, he settled in Canada with his family, where he continued to play and record music. He died in 2002.

Discover more about this artifact and other stories from the Museum?s collection in, ?To Life: 36 Stories of Memory and Hope?
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