German Reich and settled in Lithuania, where he married Jewish pianist Lyda Bagriansky. His niece, Holocaust survivor Rosian Zerner, was interned with the Geists in the Kovno ghetto. She writes, “Edwin followed his beloved Lyda there—although as a “half-Aryan" he was not yet forced to do so. Still, when she finally convinced Edwin to save himself, he left the Kovno ghetto with the promise to free her. (He kept a journal of his herculean efforts in his Tagebuch für Lyda, since then the basis of several books and a play.) Miraculously, Lyda was released in August, 1942, but my uncle was murdered by Nazis on December 10, 1942. Unable to live without him, Lyda committed suicide a few weeks later. The music Edwin and Lyda shared between them is being performed today—the day before the 70th anniversary of his death—in homage to them as well as in commemoration for all the victims of the Holocaust whose lives and creativity were truncated during those horrific times.”
Geist’s music has been performed across Europe and the U.S., with an award-winning CD of his chamber music released in Germany in 2007. His story was chronicled in Reinhard Geist’sUnerhörte Rettung: Die Suche nach Edwin Geist; Kaiser also edited Helène Holzmann’s Dies Kind Soll Leben, which posthumously received the Geschwister-Scholl Prize. add text, images, and other content.
Pictured above are Edwin and Lyda.