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2015-09-25 digital edition

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September 25, 2015  RSS feed
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Kristallnacht events: Nazi-banned musical performances, lectures

The Florida Holocaust Museum in partnership with the Sarasota Opera and the Straz Center will present two performances of “Forbidden Music – Works Banned by the Nazis,” a concert to raise awareness of the Nazi campaign against “Entartete Kunst” (degenerate art).

The concerts will be performed in Sarasota at the Sarasota Opera House on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. and will be repeated in Ferguson Hall of the Straz Center in Tampa on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.

The performances coincide with the commemoration of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” which took place on Nov. 9-10, 1938.

Along with the concerts, the Opera House will host a lecture on anti-Semitism on Thursday, Nov. 5, and a panel discussion on anti-Semitism on Thursday, Nov. 19. There also will be a Kristallnacht commemoration ceremony at the Florida Holocaust Museum on Monday, Nov. 9.

In the Nazi campaign of anti-Semitism, the music of Jewish composers was seen as inharmonious and morally and spiritually dangerous. They did not invent new derogatory terms to describe Jews but rather turned the word “Jew” into a derogatory word itself.

In the music world, the description of “Jewishness” began to serve as a synonym for works seen as “un-German” or “degenerate.” By 1934, even non-Jewish composers such as Pfitzner and Hindemith were maligned as “atonal noisemakers” because of their associations with Jewish composers and musicians.

Composers who will be represented in the concerts include Mendelssohn, Gershwin, Weill, and Hans Krasa, who was murdered in Auschwitz. The program will feature songs, arias and instrumental pieces that were banned by the Nazis.

Performers, under the direction of Sarasota Opera’s artistic director Victor DeRenzi, will be from Sarasota Opera’s Fall Season of Puccini’s La Bohème and Sarasota Youth Opera’s production of Brundibar. Narration developed by the Florida Holocaust Museum will tie the elements of the concert program together with themes of banned music and Nazi persecution of artists.

To purchase tickets, call the Sarasota Opera at (941) 328-1300 or the Straz Center at (813) 229- 7827.

VIP packages, including a VIP reception, are available. To purchase VIP packages, call Stacy Ridenour at the Sarasota Opera at (941) 366-8450, ext. 246 or Maria Johnston at the Florida Holocaust Museum at (727) 820-0100, ext. 274.

In addition to the concerts, the collaboration with the Sarasota Opera includes the free lecture “Anti-Semitism Past & Present” by Hava Holzhauer, Anti-Defamation League Florida Regional Director, on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Kamlet Library in the Sarasota Opera House Pavilion. For a few decades after the Holocaust, it seemed as if anti- Semitism was on the decline, but now there is a resurgence of hatred of Jews throughout the world. Holzhauer will talk about anti- Semitism in Europe leading up to the Holocaust, comparing and contrasting it with anti-Semitism today in Europe and in the United States. The lecture is presented in partnership with the Sarasota Opera and the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

The collaborative project concludes on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. with a community conversation and panel discussion about contemporary anti-Semitism worldwide and locally. This discussion, also held in the Sarasota Opera House Kamlet Library, is open to the public and will build on and respond to the Nov. 5 lecture.

This Sarasota Opera and Florida Holocaust Museum collaboration is made possible in part with support from the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

Kristallnacht remembrance

The Florida Holocaust Museum will hold its annual Kristallnacht commemoration on Monday, Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the museum, 55 5th St. S., St. Petersburg.

After a community ceremony, Holocaust scholar Wendy Lower, Ph.D, will discuss her book Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Field, which examines the untold story of Nazism’s brutal and murderous feminine side including German women’s roles in carrying out atrocities. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award in non-fiction in 2013.

Lower is a John K. Roth Professor of History and George R. Roberts Fellow of Claremont McKenna College.

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