Béjarano was born Esther Löwy, a daughter of the head cantor of a Jewish municipality, in Saarlouis. Her father encouraged his daughter to get interested in music and Esther learned to play the piano. At the age of 15 she had to leave her parents’ home to make an attempt to emigrate to Palestine; the attempt was unsuccessful. She served two years of hard labour at a camp in Landwerk Neuendorf, near Fürstenwalde/Spree.
On 20 April 1943, everyone in the camp was deported to Auschwitz. There she had to drag stones until she joined the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, where she played the accordion. The orchestra had the task of playing for the daily march of the gangs by the camp gate. She emigrated to Palestine on 15 September 1945 and in 1960 returned to Germany with her husband and two children. At the beginning of the 1980s, with her daughter Edna and son Joram, she created the musical group Coincidence. They sing songs from the ghetto and Jewish as well as anti-fascist songs. Béjarano lives in Hamburg.
Awards and honours
- “Esther che suonava la fisarmonica nell’orchestra di Auschwitz”, Regia di Elena Valsania, Felìz – Edizioni SEB27, DVD allegato al volume: Esther Béjarano, “La ragazza con la fisarmonica. Dall’orchestra di Auschwitz alla musica Rap”, A cura di Antonella Romeo, Prefazione di Bruno Maida, Edizioni SEB27, 2013; ISBN 978-88-86618-94-6