Monthly Archives: January 2017

Kaine likens Trump Remembrance Day statement to Holocaust denial

[From The Guardian]

Senator Tim Kaine said on Sunday that it was “not a coincidence” that the White House did not mention Jews or Judaism on Holocaust Remembrance Day yet Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“The final solution was about the slaughter of Jews,” said Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate in her defeat by Trump in November, in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “We have to remember this. This is what Holocaust denial is.

“It’s either to deny that it happened, or many Holocaust deniers acknowledge, ‘Oh, yeah, people were killed. But it was a lot of innocent people. Jews weren’t targeted.’ The fact that they did that and imposed this religious test against Muslims in the executive orders on the same day – this is not a coincidence.”

Kaine spoke after White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, appearing on the same show, stood by the original statement.

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news

Children saved from Nazis by ‘British Schindler’ plan memorial to parents

[From The Guardian]

Their 11th-hour escape on the eve of the second world war became the stuff of legend, earning international recognition for the man who organised it, Sir Nicholas Winton.

Now people spirited out of German-occupied Czechoslovakia when they were children are to pay homage to previously unsung heroes in the affair – the parents who boarded them on to Winton’s “kindertransport” trains bound for Britain in a desperate attempt to save them from the Nazis.

A memorial recognising the agonising moral choice made by parents of the 669 mostly Jewish children sent away is to be constructed in Prague’s main railway station, from where eight evacuation trains departed in the spring and summer of 1939, after Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia.

It will stand near a statue of Winton, the British aid worker and former stockbroker who organised the transports and has been labelled “the British Schindler” for his role in rescuing Jews, a comparison to Oskar Schindler, the Nazi industrialist credited with saving 1,200 Jewish prisoners from Hitler’s death camps.

Click here to read more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Holocaust testimonies

No mention of Jews in White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day tribute

[From The Guardian]

The White House raised eyebrows on Friday when it issued a statement to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, that did not mention Jews, Judaism or antisemitism.

The statement read:

It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.

Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.

In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.

The Holocaust was the systematic genocide of European Jewry by Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. More than six million Jews were murdered, along with Gypsies, gay people, political dissidents and others that the Nazi regime found undesirable.

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Knowledge entries

‘I was murdered in Auschwitz’: victims of Holocaust remembered on Twitter

[From The Guardian]

Twitter users have enlisted the social media platform to help bring to light personal stories of the victims of the Nazi regime on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Over the course of the day, the St Louis Manifest account told the stories of the passengers of the German transatlantic liner which was turned away from the US in 1939. There were 937 people onboard, almost all were Jews fleeing from the Third Reich.

After the ship was refused permission to dock in Florida and sent back across the Atlantic, 532 passengers were trapped when Germany conquered Western Europe. Just over half survived the Holocaust.

The account was set up by Jewish educator and activist Russel Neiss.

Click here to read more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Holocaust testimonies

Melodies saved from the Shoah: Music composed by victims of the Nazis has been performed for the first time

[From The Jewish Chronicle]

69279-03Josima Feldschuh was a musical child prodigy from a prominent family in Warsaw, whose promise was cruelly curtailed by the Shoah.  Confined to the Warsaw Ghetto, she gave concerts within its walls and wrote music, too. Eventually, smuggled out of the ghetto, she died of tuberculosis on the Aryan side, aged only 15.

Against the odds, some of her music survived. Reviews from a ghetto newspaper recently alerted researchers to the fact that she was also a composer. And this month, her absolutely beautiful compositions were heard at the Wigmore Hall and on Radio 3.

Josima’s is one of the most heart-rending histories to emerge in the recent concert Music on the Brink of Destruction, staged at the Wigmore Hall earlier this month but there are many more. The story of Gideon Klein’s life is better known; possibly the most gifted of all his peers, he was killed in his mid-twenties at Auschwitz, after several years in Theresienstadt. Yet here, too, there is more to learn. Besides his dazzling String Trio, at this event an early work of his received its UK premiere. Entitled Topol (“The Poplar Tree”), it is a short, highly atmospheric piece for piano and narrator. It was recently discovered by the musicologist Dr David Fligg in the archive of the Jewish Museum in Prague.

All in all, the Wigmore Hall evening demonstrated the quantity and quality of music written during the Holocaust that still awaits discovery in libraries and archives. It was devised to launch the new ORT Marks Fellowships Programme, and BBC Radio 3 have been broadcasting it in the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day today.

It offered a window into the research that Clive Marks and Dr Shirli Gilbert have been spearheading through their ORT website, which they now aim to facilitate with the new fellowships for at least a decade. Two appointed fellows per annum will each devote a day a week to this work while undertaking postgraduate studies.

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Holocaust testimonies

The Brundibár Arts Festival – the Holocaust in music, words, film & education

Newcastle is playing an active role in helping to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 – a global day of reflection that takes place on Friday January 27th. The City-wide programme spans a month of activities, closing on February 7th, with a number of venues hosting a variety of events including art exhibitions, workshops, lectures, films and music recitals.

Included in the programme is the Brundibár Arts Festival – a wealth of music, spoken word, theatre, education workshops and lectures [30 January – 7 February].

Now in its second year, the Newcastle and Gateshead-based festival aims to curate an annual programme of arts and music events that showcase the ‘little known music’ written during the Holocaust by victims and survivors.

The festival was named after the children’s opera “Brundibár” (meaning Bumblebee), written by Czech composer, Hans Krása.

The opera was performed 55 times by children who were incarcerated at Theresienstadt concentration camp in Terezin (Czechoslovakia). Of the 15,000 children who went through Terezin only 100 survived.  The organisers named the Festival after the opera as a lasting tribute to those children who suffered and perished.

The Brundibár Arts Festival venues include Newcastle City Library, Kings Hall, Newcastle University, Sage Gateshead, Caedmon Hall, Gateshead Central Library, Arch 16 Café, Lit & Phil, Alphabetti Theatre and Brunswick Methodist Church.

The Brundibár Arts Festival is supported by Newcastle City Council, the Radcliffe Trust and the Community Foundation.

The Festival has a strong educational focus with workshops taking place at Wyndham Primary School, Kingston Park Primary School, Sir Charles Parsons School, Great North Children’s Hospital and Thomas Bewick School.

The Brundibár Arts Festival is the brainchild of Russian-born Alexandra Raikhlina. The 33-year old, mum-of-one, lives in Jesmond with daughter Avital (aged 3) and her husband Lewis, who works as a patent attorney. She moved to Newcastle from Belgium eight years ago to take up the role of violinist with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, a job that takes her all over the world.

Alexandra moved from Moscow to Brussels with her family when she was only eight-years old. Her parents and sister still live in Brussels; and a small part of her family remain in Russia – an aunt and a cousin.

Alexandra Raikhlina, Artistic Director of The Brundibár Arts Festival, said: “The seed for the festival was planted in my mind a few years ago, after I was asked to perform at the Holocaust Memorial Day in Newcastle.  I was given open choice in the repertoire to perform, and started to research music on the Internet.  I came across loads of absolutely fascinating music that I had never heard or played myself before. All music that had been inspired and born out of the devastation of the Holocaust.

“Even though music is at the heart of the festival, there is so much more for people to experience. We’ve tried to programme a variety of events that reflect the emotions of the Holocaust, through theatre, art, film, education workshops and music. This is a chance to let people, young and old, learn about a part of history that should never be forgotten.

“Today we stand at a crossroad and we need to choose our path carefully. Let’s learn from our mistakes, be proactive in our actions, and read and learn from history. Let’s not say empty sentences like “Never again” and walk away satisfied.

“The Brundibár Arts Festival aims to positively document the astonishing achievement of artist victims of the Holocaust. We cannot bring lives back but we can carry on their work. Through their music, the composers live on.”

Cllr Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “Music and the arts are a very emotive way to reflect on a serious subject like The Holocaust.  The Brundibár Arts Festival is unique to Newcastle and Gateshead, and the organisers have programmed an inspiring array of music, theatre, film and speakers that provides people with an opportunity to think about the past but also allows the audience to look towards the future as we aim to learn from the atrocities of genocide.”

The Brundibár Arts Festival is proud to be bringing over Holocaust survivor, Ela Weissberger from America to deliver a number of fascinating talks in the City.   Ela performed 55 times in the original production of “Brundibár”, and she will share the incredible story of her survival with audiences and schools during her visit to Newcastle.

You can see where Ela will be talking by visiting The Brundibár Arts Festival website which provides the event programme, details of workshops and how to purchase 

People can also see the full Holocaust Memorial Day programme for January and February programmed in association with the City Council’s Arts Team by

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Listening materials

Denial (movie) review – overwhelmingly relevant assertion of truth

[From The Guardian]

5620In 1996, the historian Deborah Lipstadt was pursued in the UK courts by the notorious Holocaust denier David Irving, for calling him a falsifier of history in her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. This movie version of those events, written for the screen by David Hare and directed by Mick Jackson, stars Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt and Timothy Spall as Irving; it has been coolly received by some on the festival circuit, its drama dismissed as stagey and flat. I disagree. For me, it has clarity, urgency and overwhelming relevance. Because denial is fashionable again. Irving himself is gloating at the way “alt–right” fascists are threatening to make him and his poisonous flat-earthery acceptable once more. The US president himself believes in “alternative facts”. So for me this film, telling its story with punchy commitment and force, was a breath of fresh air.

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Holocaust testimonies, Knowledge entries, Literature, Other resources

One in four genocide survivors in UK have faced abuse, poll finds

[From the Guardian]

More than one-quarter of survivors of the Holocaust and the genocides that followed who are living in the UK have experienced discrimination or abuse linked to their religion or ethnicity, research released to mark HolocaustMemorial Day shows.

The figure is higher for survivors’ relatives, with 38% saying they have experienced racial or religious hatred, according to the poll released by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) on Friday.

This is despite the fact that the vast majority of survivors (72%) told the survey they felt very or fairly welcome when they first arrived in Britain.

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Holocaust testimonies

The Holocaust by Laurence Rees review – the voices of victims and killers

[From The guardian]

In 1955, 10 years after his liberation from Auschwitz, Primo Levi published an anguished article about the “gigantic death-dealing machine” the Nazis had built to wipe out Jews such as himself. Levi was mainly concerned with the 1950s, however, not the recent past. He feared that the greatest crime imaginable, still so vivid in the minds of survivors, was in danger of being forgotten by the wider public. Levi railed against the “silence of the civilised world”, which regarded any mention of Nazi extermination camps as in bad taste.

How things have changed. Far from being forgotten, the murder of European Jewry has become a global benchmark for judging inhumanity. Levi’s own memoir of Auschwitz, If This Is a Man, which was initially met with indifference, has been recognised as one of the “truly necessary books” (Philip Roth), and every year sees a stream of works by survivors and historians, philosophers and novelists. The question is no longer: “Is this silence justified?”, as Levi asked rhetorically back in 1955. It is now: “Which of the countless studies should we read?”

Laurence Rees’s The Holocaust: A New History is puffed on its inside cover as “the first accessible and authoritative account of the Holocaust in more than three decades”. Such PR bluster does the book no favours. For there really is no shortage of important recent works, among them Saul Friedländer’s unsurpassed survey The Years of Extermination, which won the Pulitzer prize; Timothy Snyder’s bold reinterpretation Black Earth; and the late David Cesarani’s deeply researched and highly readable study Final Solution, which appeared only last year.

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Holocaust testimonies

Music on the Brink of Destruction (BBC Radio 3 Programme)

[From BBC Radio 3 website]

The Nazi camp system was a sprawling universe of brutality and murder that held millions of individuals from across Europe: Jews, Roma and Sinti, German communists, Poles, POWs, and countless others. Themusical works these prisoners created are extraordinary documents from the time: fragments recovered from the rubble of war and genocide; monuments to the lives that were destroyed.

This forgotten musical legacy is beginning to be recovered by historians and musicologists, who have been drawing on newly-discovered scores, songs and oral histories to resurrect the diverse musics created during the Holocaust: from string quartets in Theresienstadt and tender ghetto lullabies to the fighting songs of the Jewish partisans, macabre camp ballads, and sardonic cabaret. Nazism’s victims used music to document their lives, to mourn the loss of home and family, to show solidarity with the anti-fascist cause, to escape reality, to indulge in gallows humour. They also made music on the orders of their jailers, who used music both to celebrate and to oppress.

In the aftermath of war, a few dedicated individuals set about collecting voices and songs on the brink of destruction. Now, drawing on original research and newly-digitized archives, Southampton University’s Shirli Gilbert, historian & author of Music in the Holocaust , analyses this rich musical history from the worst of times.

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Listening materials, Other primary sources (not Yiddish)

Antisemite, Holocaust denier … yet David Irving claims fresh support

[from The Guardian]

Sixteen years after an English court discredited his work and the judge called him “antisemitic and racist”, the historian David Irving claims he is inspiring a new generation of “Holocaust sceptics”.

On the eve of a major new Bafta-nominated film about the trial, Irving, who has dismissed what happened at Auschwitz concentration camp during the second world war as “Disneyland”, says that a whole new generation of young people have discovered his work via the internet and social media.

“Interest in my work has risen exponentially in the last two or three years. And it’s mostly young people. I’m getting messages from 14, 15, 16-year-olds in America. They find me on YouTube. There are 220 of my lectures on YouTube, I believe, and these young people tell me how they’ve stayed up all night watching them.

“They get in touch because they want to find out the truth about Hitler and the second world war. They ask all sorts of questions. I’m getting up to 300 to 400 emails a day. And I answer them all. I build a relationship with them.”

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Film, Holocaust in the news

A personal glimpse into the aftermath of the Holocaust

[from TribLive website]

dt-common-streams-streamserver-cls-2The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh opened its doors in October 2015 and its newly minted exhibition space, designed by Paul Rosenblatt of Springboard Design, has been put to good use with the exhibition “The Art of Lazar Ran,” which opened Dec. 12 and will remain on display through Jan. 31.

Including works from some of Ran’s most important print series, it details the life and career of Belarusian artist Lazar Ran (1909-1989) whose work was inspired by the Holocaust.

The prints come from the collection of Svetlana Belaia, a journalist and member of The Belarusian Writers’ Union who currently lives in Cleveland. She inherited the collection from her father, Anatol Efimovich Bely, who was a friend of the artist.

Belaia says that out of all the Soviet Republics, Belarus was most devastated by the Nazis during World War II.

Click here to read  more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news, Holocaust testimonies, Literature