Defiant Requiem

Defiant Requiem  


Defiant Requiem illuminates the extraordinary, untold story of the brave acts of resistance by the Jewish prisoners at Terezín during World War II.

It tells the remarkable story of Rafael Schächter, a brilliant young Czech opera-choral conductor who was arrested and sent to Terezín in 1941. His most extraordinary act was to recruit 150 prisoners and teach them the Verdi Requiem by rote in a dank cellar using a smuggled score, after grueling days of forced labour. The Requiem was performed on sixteen occasions for fellow prisoners. The last, most infamous performance occurred on June 23, 1944. With only sixty prisoner-singers remaining following massive deportations, Schächter was ordered by the Nazi camp commander to perform the Requiem before high-ranking SS officers from Berlin and the International Red Cross to support the charade that the prisoners were well treated and flourishing. 

Defiant Requiem is about how a rare form of courage, hope, and survival sparked an entirely unique method of fighting Nazi oppression, enabling the prisoners to maintain their dignity and humanity while battling the worst of mankind with the best of mankind. The Latin liturgy of the Requiem which highlights God’s ultimate judgment of the wicked, allowed the prisoners to sing to the Nazis what they dared not say. The Nazi legacy of brutality is well established, but the Terezín legacy is virtually unknown and is told dramatically in Defiant Requiem.



“There is no denying its emotional appeal” - HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

"Defiant Requiem can be a difficult film to watch. It's even more difficult to forget” - THE BOULDER DAILY CAMERA

“A poignant, affecting, powerful statement on man’s inhumanity to man” - DESERT LOCAL NEWS

“The story of Terezin and of the Requiem is told eloquently in director Doug Shultz’s powerful new documentary Defiant Requiem - HUFFINGTON POST

Genre: Non-Fiction

Sub Genre: War, True Story, Music, History, Documentary

Year of Production: 2012

Running Time: 1 x 85-minutes

Available in HD: Yes

Country: USA

Production Company:A Partisan Pictures Production