20150119_inq_jmemorial18-a   Cantor David S. Wisnia

David S. Wisnia has a remarkable voice, and he uses it to tell his remarkable story. A native of Warsaw, Poland, he is a graduate of the Yavneh-Tarbut Hebrew School System. He received most of his vocal training in Warsaw, as a student of the famous director/composer Maestro A.Z. Davidovich. Wisnia was also personally tutored by Cantors Gershon Sirota and Moshe Koussevitsky, singing in their respective choirs and performing on stage and on Polish radio.

Cantor Wisnia is a linguist, having mastered multiple languages: Polish, German, French, Slovak, English, and Hebrew (as well as Yiddish). He has performed internationally, leading services and giving concerts in Buenos Aires Libertad Synagogue (1975), Israel’s Yad Vashem (1983), and Warsaw’s Nozik Synagogue (1985 & 1986) where he officiated at the first formal “Bar Mitzvah ceremonial” to be held in Poland since World War II – this is the same synagogue where Wisnia sang as a choir boy over 70 years earlier. He most recently appeared in concert with Maestro Leopold Kozlowski in “The Last Klezmer In Poland” in Krakow and Princeton, NJ, and he sang to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz at a 2015 event attended by both survivors and Heads of State, televised to an international audience of millions.

Cantor Wisnia is a survivor of the notorious Auschwitz Annihilation Camp where he was incarcerated for close to 3 years, saving his life by singing to entertain the Nazi SS and cell block leaders. While in the camp, he composed two songs that became popular with the inmates. One song is in Polish, “Oswiecim” (Auschwitz) and the other in Yiddish, “Dos Vaise Haizele” (The Little White House In The Woods), now on display at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Wisnia was transferred to Dachau in December 1944, surviving the Death March, and managing to escape. He was soon found and rescued by the American 101 Airborne Division. Joining with the 506th Parachute Infantry, he engaged actively in combat during the closing days of the war with Germany in 1945, becoming both a survivor and a liberator.

David S. Wisnia continued singing in the United States. He served as Cantor of Temple Shalom in Levittown, PA for 28 years, and recently retired after 23 years as Cantor for Har Sinai Hebrew Congregation of Trenton, NJ. Wisnia is a member of the American Conference of Cantors within the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and continues to be an active vocalist, educator, and congregational community leader.

One Voice, Two Lives, the memoir of David Wisnia’s powerful life story is now available, in conjunction with Comteq Publishing and Stockton University. For information about speaking engagements, musical performances, and cantorial officiating, please visit the CONTACT page.