‘Out of this horrible thing came — me’: Rush’s Geddy Lee opens up about his parents’ difficult journey

Share this:

Geddy Lee, giving an emotional interview with Warner Bros. Poland, talked about the experience of his parents — both of whom were Jewish natives of that country and prisoners of war together during World War II.

They found love despite crushing circumstances under the iron fist of Nazi rule over the Poles, and eventually reconnected after enduring the horrors of one of the war’s most notorious and deadly concentration camp.

“They had met in the camps in Poland,” Rush’s longtime frontman tells Roman Rogowieckiego of Warner Music Poland, in a newly posted video. “They were from two different towns, but they were in the same camp. They met and they fell in love. So, it’s kind of a nice story, in a way. They were both in Auschwitz together.”

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: During a September 2012 show in support of ‘Clockwork Angels,’ Rush proved themselves once more to be master of their instruments, and almost telepathically tight.]

Auschwitz, the largest of the German stalags, was actually a network of camps operated on Polish land overrun by the Third Reich. As many as 1.3 million people reportedly died in these camps alone, with some 90 percent of Jewish descent.

Their early relationship, Lee says, was one of small gestures. Only later, after his father tracked down the woman who would one day become his wife, did their relationship blossom.

A host of rock and prog fans have to be thankful that he did.

“My father would somehow find shoes, and bribe the officers to send shoes to my mother,” Lee says. “My mother was liberated eventually in Germany, as was my father — and they found each other again after the war. Even though there was this horrible background, this horrible time, after the war my father found my mother and they got married. So, out of this horrible thing came — me!”

Bassist Lee, drummer Neil Peart and guitarist Alex Lifeson just released Clockwork Angels, Rush’s first new studio project since 2007’s Snakes and Arrows.

Click here to purchase …

Clockwork AngelsSector 1Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland2112

Upcoming 2012-2013 dates and venues for Rush …

Thu, Nov 15: HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA
Sat, Nov 17: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
Mon, Nov 19: Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal City, CA
Wed, Nov 21: Vally View Casino, San Diego, CA
Fri, Nov 23: MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Sun, Nov 25: US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
Wed, Nov 28: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Fri, Nov 30: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Sun, Dec 2: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Wed, May 22, 2013: Manchester MEN Arena, Manchester, England
Fri, May 24: The O2, London, England
Sun, May 26: Birmingham LG Arena, Birmingham, England
Tue, May 28: Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, England
Thu, May 30: SECC, Glasgow, Scotland
Sun, Jun 2: Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tue, Jun 4: Lanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany
Thu, Jun 6: O2 World, Berlin, Germany
Sat, Jun 8: Sweden Rock Festival, Solvesborg, Sweden
Mon, Jun 10: Hartwell Arena, Helsinki, Finland

Something Else!

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Something Else!
Share this:
  • Brian Wozniak

    I never knew. Wow. I have always admired Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson and Neil Pearts music in RUSH. What a heartbreaking story. It’s amazing that people can come out of tragedy alive in one piece. So sad to hear his father died. That makes liking Geddy Lee even more important.

  • Brian Wozniak

    Also my family survived concentration camps in Poland. My grandfather and his younger brother were snuck out of Poland by different means. But their parents, my great grand parents didn’t survive the concentration camps they died in. My great uncle was very depressed about my great grand parents being killed. He took his life sadly in the in the 1970’s after he arrived in the United States. I have been given garbadge by socipaths on the net for being Polish American. So much so that I know that Nazism is alive and well. True.

  • Tim St John

    My grandfather (100% Polish) was also in two of the camps. He told a much different story. He always asked the questions no one wanted to answer: “If they were really trying to kill all of us, why would be have been given currency for the work we did? Why were there soccer fields where we everyone played, and often? Why were there dental clinics, and a theater, and commissary you could go to but goods? If they truly wanted to exterminate us, why would we have band instruments to play?” He said that when supply lines were cut due to allied bombing and sanctions created by Britain, no food, clothing, or Xyclon B got through to control lice that spread typhus. Most died from typhus, or starvation when supplies didn’t get through.
    It is important to note that he also said that he never once saw, or had even heard of any gas chambers in the time he there.
    Kinda interesting how only Jews were compensated for their capture and suffering, but Poles weren’t, unless they converted. A bit less than 1/2 of all prisoners in the camps were non-Jews. How come they never got a cent?

    • Pawe? K?pa

      German want to exterminate all jews, and make polish people low educated slaves. They exterminated almost whole polish jews if u want to know. In my home town – there was 1/2 of poles and 1/2 jews – after the war not a single polish jew came back to his home, NOT A SINGLE ONE.
      Also concentration camp like Auchtwitz (O?wi?cim for example) it was the whole complex of camps. Prisoners from one camp could have no idea that in the next camp germans are exterminating ppl.
      After the war 6 million of polish citizens were dead. And you are trying to say that most of them died from typhus ?