|Year of Birth:
|Year of Death:
Boris Carmeli (23 April 1928 â€“ 31 July 2009) was a Polish operatic basso profondo known for his "fervent rich hued tones" and extensive repertory of more than 70 operas and 60 oratorios. During his long career, he appeared regularly at La Scala in Milan and other major opera houses internationally. In addition to the classical bass repertoire, he performed contemporary music including major works by Krzysztof Penderecki and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He appeared at international music festivals, on Italian television, and in many opera films.
Carmeli was born Norbert Wolfinger to Hermann and Rachel Wolfinger in Obertyn, Poland, in 1928. His older brother Pinkas (later Peter Carmeli) was born in 1921. Believing that Germany had an economic future, the family emigrated to Magdeburg in 1932. Hermann moved first and found work in the textile business. His wife and sons joined him later.
From January 1933, under the Nazi regime, the Jewish Wolfinger family faced difficulties. Growing anti-Semitism in the country even affected five-year-old Boris (Norbert), who as the only Jew in his class was subject to bigotry. The pogrom of Kristallnacht in 1938 made clear that the family was not safe in Germany. Converting their assets into jewelry, which Rachel sewed into their clothing, they fled to Brussels, Belgium.
In 1940, the German Army attacked Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Once again, the family escaped, taking flight to France, then Italy, where they lived in a series of increasingly remote mountain villages. Roundups of Jews in the region began in September 1943. Suffering from an earache, Carmeli, then 15 years of age, descended into the town of Valdieri during daylight hours in search of medicine. Leaving the pharmacy, he was arrested by Italian Fascist militiamen, who delivered him to the Germans. On 7 December 1943, he was transferred from the Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp to Auschwitz concentration camp. Of the 1,000 Jews on convoy 64, he would be one of 50 survivors.