Showing posts with label Holocaust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holocaust. Show all posts

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Music: The Island of Peace & Love

“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” 
Ludwig van Beethoven
“Music has first place among the arts. It brings us to an island with peace, beauty and love. Music is a dream. Music helped me have hope. In difficult times, when suffering … even the bad is beautiful. It is a mystery when the first tone of music starts: it goes straight into our soul. Music … is …. God.” 
Alice Herz-Sommer, pianist, Holocaust survivor 
Died 2/23/14 Age: 110

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Never Forget

A new website,, published by a Swedish Armenian organization, explains the deaths of millions of Christians in Ottoman Turkey, and, rather progressively, acknowledges Armenians, Syriac people, Assyrians and Greeks of Anatolia and Pontos. The FAQ in English explains why April 24 is a commemoration day for Armenians.

This Sunday, April 22, Kehila Kedosha Janina, the only Greek synagogue in Manhattan, hosts a memorial service to remember the Shoah - the Jewish Holocaust - at 2 p.m., followed by a special film on the Jewish community of Salonika (Thessaloniki), Greece.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Never Again

Some six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during World War II, and President Barack Obama commemorated Holocaust remembrance day last week with this statement to live by:

"We are reminded to remain ever-vigilant against the possibility of genocide, and to ensure that 'Never Again' is not just a phrase but a principled cause. And we resolve to stand up against prejudice, stereotyping, and violence – including the scourge of anti-Semitism – around the globe."

Read the full release here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

French Seduction

Last night, I saw the French film "The Names of Love" at the Paris Theater. Ostensibly it's about a girl who converts fascists and racists to leftist causes via sex, only to see the flaws in seduction. But a bigger theme is heritage and identity. From YouTube, one of the film's best lines, "The day there is nothing but half breeds, there will be peace." In the film, the Holocaust and grandparents from Salonika are weaved in. (Papou wears a fez!) There were a few good lines about systemic tragedy ... asking what can we remember, what should we, and how do we communicate it? Choosing not to identify with being a victim, what do you remember? What should you remember?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Greek Jews

TEL AVIV, Israel - Many Israelis I met in Tel Aviv love Greece, and Arabs here at the Mount of Olives Hotel see Greeks as their friends – my apparently blessed heritage is better than a Swiss passport when it comes to making friends in Israel! Within hours of being in Israel for the first time, I met five people with Greek heritage – the most special among them being Albert Amon, 83, who avoided Auschwitz when living in Greece: he was a rebel fighter who escaped to the mountains about four hours outside Volos. His voice cracked when he first told me, but he was fundamentally chipper and happy share stories and speak Greek. His wife doesn’t speak about her ordeal: she was was among the 50,000-plus Greek Jews who were rounded up in Thessaloniki and sent to camps. She and her sister survived Auschwitz and came back to Greece with numbers tattooed on their arms, the rest of their families gone. I didn’t bring up the Greek thing with anyone; it was when people heard my name that they were eager to tell me how much Israelis love Greek music or about their own Greek heritage. One young woman attached to the wedding I attended said her mother was born in Izmir in the 1950s. The woman who sat next to me at the wedding has relatives in Athens. A shopkeeper with a turban and orange robe hawking clothes from India said her father was from Kerkyra (Corfu) and pulled out a Greek music CD to blast on the shop’s speakers. But the most intersting person was the mustachioed Mr. Amon, who sells furniture, and his son, Shmuel. I went into their store because Shmuel was on a laptop and I had Internet connectivity questions. He put me on the phone with a friend, and when they heard “Dimitra,” the conversation ensued.