I do not come from a religious background. Although I did have a bar mitzvah and we always fasted on Yom Kipper, we were not observant. We had left Germany to settle in London in 1933, and I remember many mornings when I left home for school with my mother crying because she had just heard of another relative lost in Hitler's slaughter of the Jews. 176 members of my family disappeared.
By time I met Nizza, my soon-to-be wife, I had become totally assimilated. She brought me back to my roots and made me realize how terribly important my Judaism was. She also introduced me to Marion and Elie Wiesel. I first heard Elie sing at my wedding, at which he officiated, and subsequently at many High Holidays over the years. As we shared Seders I was invariably moved; his songs and the way he sang them brought out my feelings of Jewishness. It struck me, then, that this was an experience I wanted to record for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. I asked Phil Ramone for advice and help, and we decided to make a permanent record of the songs from Elie's childhood, so that the entire world could share the joy that I feel every time I hear Elie sing.
-John Heyman, Producer