Holocaust educator to speak at luncheon
Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2012
By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Dr. Racelle Weiman, a noted Holocaust educator, will speak on “Forbidden Music: Nazi Suppression of Art and Culture,” during a noon luncheon March 1 at First United Methodist Church.
The event is sponsored by the Salisbury-Rowan Symphony Guild, and it kicks off a series of events connected to the appearance of the “Violins of Hope” in Charlotte.
The Violins of Hope — 18 violins recovered from the Holocaust — will be exhibited and played for the first time in North America when they come to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
But on April 7, the Saturday before Easter, one of the Violins of Hope will be brought to Salisbury and played at a free concert at Catawba College’s Omwake-Dearborn Chapel. Playing the violin and music from “Schindler’s List,” will be David Russell, currently the Anne R. Belk Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
In addition, master luthier Amnon Weinstein, who collected and restored these violins connected to the Holocaust, will be speaking at the 7:30 p.m. concert in Salisbury.
Some of the Violins of Hope were played by Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Others belonged to the Klezmer musical culture, which was all but destroyed by the Holocaust.
As a complement to what the Symphony Guild is doing, the Center for Faith & the Arts and Catawba College’s Department of Religion & Philosophy are co-sponsoring a series of film and music in March and April. These events will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays from March 6 through April 10, excluding April 3. Some could carry a small admission price, to benefit Center for Faith & the Arts, or they will be free.
Weiman, senior director of the Dialogue Institute at Temple University in Philadelphia, is an international speaker and activist on genocide prevention and promotion of human rights and democratic values.
A press release on Weiman’s Salisbury appearance says the following:
“Dr. Weiman will share, through words and music, the startling range and insidious and racist nature of the Nazi attempt to control, regulate and punish artistic freedom and control all free access to music, musicians and musical compositions and imagination.”
The Nazi censorship was founded on anti-Semitic persecution, “through eliminating Jewish artists and musicians from Germany,” according to the press release. “It was ‘justified’ through Nazi racist ideology and its determination to ‘aryanize’ all German culture and thought during the Hitler regime,” the release adds.
Weiman has said that for the Nazis, jazz was especially a threatening form of expression. One reason was the most talented jazz musicians in Europe were Jews and blacks, who were at the bottom of the Nazis’ racial hierarchy.
The Dialogue Institute is dedicated to professional and academic training and global outreach in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue.
Before holding a position with the Dialogue Institute, Weiman was founding director of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.
She has received national acclaim and awards for interactive multi-media museum exhibitions, documentary movies and curriculum. From 1986-2000, she taught Holocaust studies at the University of Haifa in Israel.
Overall, she has lectured and taught in 30 counties.
Assisting Weiman during her presentation will be Matthew Brown, music director at First United Methodist Church. He will be playing musical examples connected to Weiman’s talk.
The luncheon, which is a Symphony Guild fundraiser, is $35, and there will be available seating for 150. For reservations, call Symphony Guild President Tom Wolpert at 704-637-2389, or the symphony office at 704-637-4314.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.
Violins of Hope, the Salisbury Connection:
Here are events in Salisbury linked to the 18 Violins of Hope, coming this spring to Charlotte and presented by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s College of Arts and Architecture. The Salisbury programs listed are sponsored by the Salisbury-Rowan Symphony Guild or Center for Faith & the Arts and Catawba College’s Department of Religion and Philosophy:
• March 1, noon, luncheon, First United Methodist Church. Speaker, Dr. Racelle Weiman, Holocaust educator and Temple University professor. Topic: “Forbidden Music: Nazi Suppression of Art and Culture.”
• March 6, 7 p.m., the film “The Red Violin,” Tom Smith Auditorium, Catawba College.
• March 13, 7 p.m., Symphony Maestro David Hagy’s presentation of Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” Tom Smith Auditorium, Catawba College.
• March 20, 7 p.m., the film “Playing for Time,” Tom Smith Auditorium, Catawba College.
• March 27, 7 p.m., First Presbyterian Church Chamber Choir, Tom Smith Auditorium, Catawba College.
• April 7, 7:30 p.m., Omwake-Dearborn Chapel, Catawba College. David Russell will be playing one of the Violins of Hope, and master luthier Amnon Weinstein, who recovered violins from the Holocaust and restored them, will be speaking.
• April 10, 7 p.m., the film “Devil’s Arithmetic,” Tom Smith Auditorium, Catawba College.
• April 15, bus trip from Salisbury to Charlotte for the opening night performance of Violins of Hope, Knight Theater, Charlotte’s Levine Center for the Arts.
Over coming weeks, tickets and information related to the Salisbury events are available by calling the Salisbury Symphony office at 704-637-4314, Guild President Tom Wolpert at 704-637-2389, or by visiting salisburysymphony.org.