On Anniversary of Hiroshima Bombing, “Song of Survival” Explores a Different Side of WWII

by Mike Mcdonnough on August 6, 2009

in Miscellaneous News

This week marks the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two of the most historical events in our world’s history. The nuclear attacks (still the only ones in the history of warfare) secured a decisive victory for the U.S. against the Japanese, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, and sparked the never-ending polarized debate on war vs. peace. In the midst of the global WWII conflict, a group of courageous women survived three and a half years in a Japanese prison camp in Sumatra using only symphonic music as a remedy. The Janson Media DVD Song of Survival tells their story, adding a new perspective to the epic events of the war.

Even as disease and malnutrition thinned their ranks, these Australian, Dutch and British women – missionaries, teachers, nuns, wives and children – used their unique choir to sustain a spirit that refused to accept defeat. These courageous women had something special going for them: the great music of Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin. Having no instruments but the human voice, they recreated from memory the complex symphonic music they had loved. Here is their remarkable story, told by the survivors themselves, aided by rare archival footage.

Songs of Survival was produced by Veriation Films and is now available for all television, DVD, VOD, non-theatric, and new media markets worldwide exclusively through Janson Media. The 70 minute DVD contains a 33-image Photo Gallery as an extra feature. The book Song of Survival: Women Interned by Helen Colijn, and the music from the camp sung by the Women’s Choir of Haarlem, Holland (compact disc and cassette) are available from White Cloud Press, PO Box 3400, Ashland, Oregon 97520.