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Remarkable 99-year-old musician and Holocaust survivor is still beating the drum for peace

Dreier shared the story of how he formed his first band at the age of 89, inspired by a 108-year-old pianist who survived the holocaust. (CREDIT: Saul Dreier)

Saul Dreier, recently out of rehab following hip surgery, eagerly launched into his story when approached for an interview. At 99 years old, he has a tale he's recounted many times, but it's not about his childhood in Krakow, Poland, shattered by the outbreak of World War II or the horrors he endured as a Jewish person under Nazi occupation.

Instead, Dreier enthusiastically shared the story of how he formed his first band at the age of 89, inspired by a 108-year-old pianist who survived the Holocaust and played for fellow Jews in German camps.


"I read an essay about a woman, she was 108 years old and she was a pianist. She was liberated from a German camp and she played for people there, to Jews living in Germany," he explained. "She passed away, and I wanted to do something for this woman."

(Left) Saul Dreier plays drums in the Holocaust Survivors Band, which he founded. (Right) Saul Dreier, center left, met with President Joe Biden along with a group of fellow Holocaust survivors in December. Dreier asked to play the drums with the U.S. Marine Band, a request the band accommodated. (CREDIT: Saul Dreier)

Driven by a desire to honor her legacy and combat antisemitism while advocating for peace and tolerance, Dreier turned to his lifelong passion for music. Thus, the Holocaust Survivors Band was born, with Dreier at its helm, traveling the globe to spread its message.


Dreier's journey into music advocacy began with a simple trip to a local music store. Despite initial skepticism from his loved ones, including his wife, who issued an ultimatum about the drum set invading their home, Dreier persisted.

After organizing his first concert at a local synagogue, skeptics were won over, and Dreier's mission gained momentum.


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As one of the diminishing number of Holocaust survivors, Dreier recognizes the urgency of his message, encapsulated in the mantra "never again."

Through the Saul's Generation Foundation, he aims to connect people of Polish heritage with their roots, foster intergenerational connections, support the elderly, and educate youth about history and mental health.


Greg Schneider, executive director of the Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, underscores the dwindling presence of Holocaust survivors, emphasizing the importance of preserving their stories and legacies.

Dreier's foundation not only addresses historical trauma but also inspires young people to pursue their dreams, regardless of age. Despite enduring unimaginable hardships, including battles with cancer, Dreier maintains an infectious energy and passion, serving as a beacon of hope and resilience.


Justyna Kolaczek, Dreier's collaborator, highlights his impact on youth, likening his demeanor to that of a teenager enamored with his foundation's mission. For Dreier, the foundation symbolizes the unity of humanity, transcending differences to embrace a shared humanity.

In Dreier's words, his heart beats in sync with the rhythm of his drums, a testament to his unwavering spirit and dedication to fostering a world of peace and understanding.

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