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In Memory of Our Murdered (Jewish) Children: Hearing the Holocaust in Soviet Jewish Culture
Presented by professor James Loeffler, Corcoran Department of History University of Virginia
March 8, 2016 @ 6:30pm; Rapaporte Treasure Hall
In the winter of 1942-43, composer Mikhail Fabianovich Gnesin fled the Nazi advance into Soviet territory. He ended up in Tashkent with his wife, where he learned that his son had died a few weeks before. In his grief, he wrote a piano trio and dedicated it “In Memory of Our Perished Children.” This remarkable work of art is probably the first piece of music ever written explicitly about the Holocaust. Except that it nowhere mentions the Shoah or Jews, and instead hides its Jewishness in a secret musical code. Retelling the history of this lost piece of music, James Loeffler shows how the Holocaust sounded very different to Soviet (Jewish) ears. This holds important ethical lessons for how we remember the Holocaust and recover its musical legacy in our own world today.