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November 2018: Kristallnacht Concert of Remembrance
Kristallnacht Commemorative Concert
November 8th, 2018
Renouf Foyer, Michael Fowler Centre, 111 Wakefield St Wellington.
A concert of hope
This year's Kristallnacht concert in memory of the Nazi attack on the Jews of Germany on November 9, 1938 will have Hope as its underlying theme. Young Israeli violinist, Tal First and Inbal Megiddo of the NZ School of Music will perform Violins of Hope by Israeli composer, Ohad ben Ari
Tal First, is a promising young musician, currently at the Julliard School. He is a member of West-Eastern Divan Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim and concertmaster of the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a versatile chamber musician.
The Violins of Hope is a collection of violins collected and restored by Israeli violin maker, Amnon Weinstein, violins that were played in the ghettos, concentration camps, or belonged to victims of the Holocaust. Accompanying the exhibition of these violins in Berlin, Ohad Ben-Ari, celebrated Israeli pianist, conductor and composer, was commissioned to write the work for violin, cello and string orchestra that was performed by members of the Berlin Philharmonic at a special memorial concert.
The performance of this piece at this year's Kristallnacht concert will be its New Zealand premier.
Other works played at the concert will include Mahler's early Piano Quartet, Piano Trio by Jewish Hungarian composer, who was arrested in France, deported East, where he died, works by Dick Kattenburg, Dutch Jewish composer, who died in Auschwitz at the age of 24, two movements from Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, a work he composed while in a prisoner of war camp, and two songs, by Kurt Weill.
It is an interesting and varied programme dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust and the casualties of war.
Steven Sedley, MNZN
Personal reflection by Vera Egermayer at the commemoration of Yom HaShoah in Wellington on 11 April 2018
As I listen to these readings from children’s holocaust diaries and as I hear their voices through the voices of today’s young people … I remember a very dear friend who also kept such a diary.
Chava Pressburger was fourteen years of age when she was deported to Terezin. I was four. Miraculously, neither to us were sent on to Auschwitz and neither of us succumbed to typhoid which was rampant in the camp. We both lived to be liberated in May 1945, returned to Prague, subsequently emigrating …I to New Zealand and Chava to Israel where she became a world-renowned artist and treasured holocaust witness.
Chava’s brother Petr Ginz an exceptionally talented boy whose diary, many writings, poems, novels and artworks live on to inspire new generations, was one of the one and a half million children murdered. He was sixteen. His gifts to humanity would have been immeasurable had he been allowed to live.
The last entry in Chava’s diary, two years after the war ended was
Petr se nevratil
Petr did not come back.
Chava was always haunted by her brother’s death. She told me that she tried to imagine what he felt as was herded into the gas chamber. We will never know. We will never know what any of them felt when those fake showers were turned on. No diary can tell us that.
But those of us who escaped that fate and are still here as the last messengers from the past, remember what it felt like to be a Jewish child living in the shadow of death. We were too small to record our feelings in diaries but they are etched on our souls. Yes, as a tiny child I knew fear, hunger and isolation but worst of all I saw my parents living in fear, day after day, humiliated and powerless. And that memory is indelible and inescapable.
In the first poem read this evening we listened to the words
“From the ashes hear our plea
And we are here today to answer that plea.
We read from the diaries We light a candle We pronounce their names We say a prayer and we build a memorial.
I can tell you this evening that this memorial is being built right now…The New Zealand Children’s Holocaust Memorial- from children for children. A scale model is on display in this room. We know that caring hands collected 1.5 million buttons.. counted them …washed them and are now bringing them together in a unique memorial sculpture which will travel around New Zealand telling the stories of those broken lives …Ann Frank …Petr Ginz….and my little cousin Pepicek Mautner
They say that it takes a village to raise a child…let us remember that it takes a community to raise a memorial.
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