Esther Bejarano, who was a survivor from Auschwitz, died. She used music to combat racism and antisemitism in Germany. She was 96.

Bejarano passed away peacefully at the Jewish Hospital Hamburg in the early hours Saturday morning, German news agency dpa reported. Helga Obens was a board member for the Auschwitz Committee Germany. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Heiko Maas, German Foreign Minister, paid tribute to Bejarano and called her “an important voice for the fight against racism”

Rudolf Loewy, a Jewish cantor, was the daughter of Bejarano. The family moved to Saarbruecken in 1925, where Bejarano had a musical and safe upbringing. In 1935, the city was returned to Germany by the Nazis.

Bejarano was forced to work in order to be sent to Auschwitz–Birkenau in 1943. Ruth, her parents, and sister were eventually deported. She volunteered to play the accordion in the orchestra for girls, and was there every train carrying Jews from Europe arrived.

Bejarano later said that music kept her alive during the Holocaust, in particular in the Nazi death camp in Poland.

In a 2010 interview with The Associated Press , she said that “We played with tears” and that they were still having fun. “The new arrivals arrived waving and applauding, but we knew that they would be taken straight to the gas chambers.”

Bejarano, whose grandmother was a Christian, was later transferred to Ravensbrueck concentration Camp and survived a march at the end.

Bejarano wrote a memoir about her rescue by U.S troops, who gave her an accordion. She played it the day American soldiers and survivors of concentration camps danced around a burning portrait Adolf Hitler in celebration of the Allies’ victory over the Nazis.

After the war, Bejarano fled to Israel and married Nissim Bejarano. After having two children, Edna (and Joram), the couple returned to Germany in 1960. Bejarano was again confronted with open antisemitism and decided to get politically involved, founding the Auschwitz Committee 1986 to provide survivors with a platform to share their stories.

She joined her children to perform Yiddish songs and Jewish resistance songs with a Hamburg-based group they called Coincidence. Also, she teamed up with Microphone Mafia to promote anti-racism to German youth.

She said that “We all love music” and shared a common goal, pointing out her collaborations with people from different cultures.

Bejarano was awarded numerous awards, including Germany’s Order of Merit for her activism against the “old and New Nazis”. Primo Levi, a fellow Holocaust survivor, said that it had happened before, so it could happen again.

Bejarano said, “You’re not guilty of what happened back then.” You are guilty of what happened if you don’t listen to the events.