Halina Nadi is 99 years old and the most amazing lady.
Halina was born in Krakow and studied music at the University of Warsaw. Her talents were evident from those early days, even performing with Władysław Szpilman, made famous from the film ‘The Pianist.’
When the war broke out, she was able to get hold of documentation of another Halina, a non-Jewish Polish girl of roughly her age, and she was able to survive under the guise of her false non-Jewish identity. Sadly, this was not the case for most of her family who she lost during the war. When we sat, she told me that even now, all these years later when she speaks about the war, she can’t sleep for weeks after. The images are too hard for her to recall.
After the war, she came to America, then Mexico, where she continued to perform, headlining Carnegie Hall multiple times and performing amongst the likes of Sophie Tucker, receiving outstanding reviews wherever she went.
Martin Bernheimer, the notorious music critic, wrote of her – “Halina Nadi, an attractive young sopranó from Poland, has been in the States only a year, made her debut at Carnegie Recital Hall yesterday afternoon. Accompanied by Erwin Herbst, she offered-arlas and songs by Caccini, Durante, Schubert, Strauss, Donizetti, Fauré Symanowski, Karlowicz, Moniuszko, Gretchaninoft and Rachmaninoft.
Miss Nadi possesses healthy, bright-textured lyric soprano, which she produces effectively.”
I sat with Halina and we wrote a letter in the Survivor Torah. Halina asked we write a letter ״מ״ in honor of her father Moshe and when all was done, she brought in a bag full of her most prized possessions, the programs from her recitals and she gifted me the copy of her first recital at Carnegie Hall, which I will treasure forever.