Cantor David S. Wisnia will share his story as a Holocaust survivor and sing the music he loves – accompanied by his grandson, accomplished jazz pianist Avi Wisnia – in a free, public program on Wednesday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in The Forum at the Elaine Langone Center (ELC).
During World War II when he was just a teenager, David Wisnia became a prisoner of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where he was held for nearly three years. After surviving several horrors in Auschwitz, he discovered that his singing voice would ultimately save his life. A daring escape led him into the path of U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne who adopted “Little Davey,” taking him with them on their campaign of liberation through Europe. With their help, Wisnia was able to immigrate to the United States. He told his story as both a Holocaust Survivor and a WWII liberator in his memoir, One Voice, Two Lives.
Wisnia uses his beautiful singing voice to also tell that story. He is fluent in multiple languages and received his vocal training in his native Poland as a student of renown Cantors Sirota and Koussevitsky. He served as Cantor of Temple Shalom in Levittown, Pa. for 28 years, and recently retired after 23 years as Cantor of Har Sinai Congregation of Trenton, N.J. He is a member of the American Conference of Cantors within the UAHC, and continues to be an active vocalist, educator and congregational community leader.
Award-winning singer/songwriter Avi Wisnia presents an eclectic mix of refreshingly original songs and inventive covers. He has toured in support of his debut album, Something New, performing in prestigious venues around the world – from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City to The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to concerts in Warsaw, Poland and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The program is co-sponsored by Bucknell’s Office of Campus Jewish Life and the Rabbi Serena L. Fujita Social Justice Fund.