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George Horner's Story: From Moravia to Death Camps to Prague to Australia to America

Pianist and Newtown Square resident George Horner narrowly escaped the Holocaust. He performed in the Terezin cabarets to lift the spirits of those around him.

A remarkable physician and pianist now living in Newtown Square, PA continues to affect the lives of all those he touches. On this week's Philadelphia Music Makers, you'll hear his story and his music. Tune in on Sunday, November 16 at 5 pm for this special show at 90.1 FM or online at wrti.org

It was music that kept intact George Horner's desire to go on living in the death camps of Terezin, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald.

George Horner was just six years old when he played the piano for the first time. He was 16 when the Nazis occupied his home country of Czechoslovakia. Forcibly shuffled from ghetto tenements and then through a string of concentration camps, he was gradually stripped of almost everything.


The Nazis could not tame his spirit nor take away his will to survive or his love of music. Indeed, spend time with “Doctor George," as his friends call him, and he will tell you that it was music that kept intact his desire to go on living in the death camps of Terezin, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald.

Yo-Yo Ma gives George Horner a hug before their rehearsal in Boston in 2013.

Dr. Horner’s story of survival is one of evil overcome, of faith defeating hopelessness, and finally, of joy often illuminated by music. A case study in the importance of art as fuel for the human spirit, Horner not only survived the Holocaust, but went on to become a physician, build a family, and just last year, perform live with Yo-Yo Ma at Boston's Symphony Hall.

Now 91, George Horner shares some of the most memorable music from his life and some awe-inducing stories in this episode of in Philadelphia Music Makers on WRTI.

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