Her most popular book was "Mendel Rosenbusch: Tales for Jewish Children" (1929). The title character, a kind elderly man, mysteriously receives a magic coin that enables him to become invisible at will. He uses this power to perform anonymous good deeds for his neighbors. Weber's sharp observations and gentle humor make these stories appealing for all ages. As a child she learned to sing and play guitar, lute, mandolin and balalaika, but apparently never considered a career as a musician.
Her early fiction, dating from 1925, was collected as "The Scooter Race and Other Stories" (1930). In 1930 she married Willi Weber and settled in Prague, where she wrote for children's periodicals and became a producer for Czech Radio. Following the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939 the Webers were able to get their oldest son Hanuš safely to Sweden on a "Kindertransport" before they were confined to Prague's Jewish Ghetto. They arrived at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in February 1942. Hanuš survived the war in Sweden, and lives in Stockholm in retirement.
His son, Tommy, born in 1977, is named in honor of his younger brother, murdered with his mother in Auschwitz. Weber worked as a night nurse in the camp's children's infirmary, doing everything she could for the young patients without the aid of medicine (which was forbidden to Jewish prisoners). She wrote around 60 poems during her imprisonment and set many of them to music, employing deceptively simple tunes and imagery to describe the horror of her surroundings. In performance she accompanied herself on guitar. Her songs include "Lullaby", "I Wandered Through Theresienstadt", "The Lidice Sheep", "And the Rain Falls", and "Avowal of Belief". When her husband was deported to Auschwitz in October 1944, Ilse Weber volunteered to join him with their son Tommy because she didn't want to break up the family.
She and the boy were sent to the gas chamber on arrival. Willi Weber survived them by 30 years. Weber's Theresienstadt poetry was collected in the book "Inside These Walls, Sorrow Lives" (1991) and her songs have been frequently recorded, particularly "Lullaby". Her works from Theresienstadt have survived and have been published and recorded, most recently by mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter (2007). Her son Hanuš participated in a cultural program commemorating his mother's work in Berlin on May 22, 2008.
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