8.3/ SCC: Jewish Film Festival — ‘Defiant Requiem’ — Aug 22, 7:30

Southampton Cultural Center’s Third Annual Jewish Film Festival presents

“Defiant Requiem”

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton Village

Tickets: $ 15


Defiant Requiem is the story of the courageous Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp (Terezin) during World War II who performed Verdi’s Requiem while experiencing the depths of human degradation. With only a single smuggled score, they performed the celebrated oratorio sixteen times, including one performance before senior SS officials from Berlin and an International Red Cross delegation. The young Czech conductor, Rafael Schaechter, told the choir, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them.”

Defiant Requiem combines the magnificent music of Verdi with testimony from survivors of the original Terezin chorus and footage from the 1944 Nazi propaganda film about Theresienstadt. It is a tribute to the inspired leadership of Rafael Schaechter who was forced to reconstitute the choir three times as members were transported to Auschwitz. The performances came to symbolize resistance and defiance and demonstrated the prisoners’ courage to confront the worst evil of mankind.

Murry Sidlin is founder and president of The Defiant Requiem Foundation, an organization that sponsors live concert performances of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin, as well as other projects, including the documentary film, Defiant Requiem, and The Rafael Schaechter Institute for Arts and Humanities at Terezin. He is a distinguished teacher of conducting and performs throughout the world in the traditional concert hall.


From Murry Sidlin:

“A looooooonnnnng  story. I have a family history re: the Holocaust about which my folks were notified in 1946. That’s when my dad was notified that his mother, my grandmother, and many other relatives were murdered in Latvia by the Nazi death squads. So there was in our home a rather serious and extensive Holocaust education for years. After becoming a conductor ( leaping forward, now)  and being active in performing and teaching conducting , I stumbled on the story of the arts and humanities at Terezin. I did NOT believe the story of Verdi’s REQUIEM learned, rehearsed, and performed there. A requiem Mass in a Jewish prison camp??? And one of the most difficult choral works to sing well, and in Latin, and such musical complexities throughout? How was that possible? I set out to disprove that it happened because I worried about misinformation re: the Holocaust, what happens when the REVISIONISTS” get a hold of untrue information and start to invalidate more of what we claim. But my research brought  me to several members of the original choir, and instead I learned how very true it was. I was inspired by the story, and the dedication of a Jewish choir in a concentration camp, 16 performances!!! Rehearsing every night after working 12 hour shifts and nothing nutritious  to sustain them.  So my family history kept the flame  of the Shoah lit inside me, and this story of dedication to the arts and humanities as a means of practicing compassion, and holding out hope,  dignity, and responding to the worst of Mankind with the best of Mankind erupted within me when I came to know Terezin.” — Murry




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