Hundreds of Holocaust survivors and liberators along with families of several rescuers were among those attending the Partners of Hope Concert at Carnegie Hall, on February 5th as guests, making this one of the largest gatherings of its kind in recent years.
The program (in PDF File), featuring international musicians and speakers, honored rescuers who displayed extraordinary courage in saving Jews from the Holocaust while providing an uplifting musical program with works of hope and enduring strength. Headlining the program were Israeli singer/musician David Broza, Bulgarian-born soprano Anna Veleva, actress Eleanor Reissa and the world premiere of an orchestral/choir composition by Robert Cohen based on the poetry of World War II veteran and Jewish American poet Hyam Plutzik as performed by the Westfield Symphony Orchestra and led by maestro David Wroe.
The elderly community of survivors and liberators was joined by students and teachers, who are also enabled to attend the concert at little or no cost, thanks to a generous grant by the Goldwasser Plutzik Family Foundation. Buses have been chartered through community organizations for survivors and others to arrive at Carnegie Hall from all of New York’s boroughs. The program was presented by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, named after the famed Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews from certain deportation and certain death in the Nazi concentration camps.
Also on the Carnegie Hall agenda were United Nations Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor and United Nations Israeli Ambassador, Dan Gillerman, who asked Holocaust survivors and their families to stand up creating one of the most significant moments and heartfelt applauses of the night.
The program also featured Shoah-related songs – Ani Ma’Amin and Yisrolik – remembered by Concentration Camp and Ghetto survivors as anthems of resistance, hope, and deep conviction. Sheila Abranches, granddaughter of Portuguese Consul Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who issued 30,000 visas saving as many lives from persecution, and Solomon Asser, President of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece whose mother was a hidden child in occupied Greece recounted their family stories of rescue from the Holocaust. Rabbi Robert Levine, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Shalom Manhattan and President of the NY Board of Rabbis, represented the regional religious community with readings and reminiscences.
Noted Abigail Tenembaum of the Wallenberg Foundation,
”Our vision for this event was intergenerational and experiential. In an audience filled with young people, survivors were able to see firsthand, that their story has been told to a youthful generation that will have the facts and feelings to bear witness. Working together, we can fulfill the important commitment promised by so many survivors, even as they stood at death’s door: We must never forget.”