Message from the president, Murry Sidlin
Welcome to the first newsletter of The Defiant Requiem Foundation, providing another opportunity to illuminate the legacy of Terezin.
This year has been a fulfilling one. We screened our film for a week in theaters in New York and Los Angeles last August 2012 as part of Docuweeks, and it reached audiences at festivals and private screenings in Palm Springs, Washington, Atlanta, Cleveland, Prague, Nashville, Jupiter, Fl., Jerusalem and Martha’s Vineyard, among many other cities.
The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival last February was a success, but tragedy followed almost immediately afterward. Our beloved Fran Eizenstat, a cherished guide and conscience to The Foundation, and inspiring Board Member, died February 17. Stu Eizenstat, her beloved husband of forty years, continues to lead our Board of Directors as chairman. He dedicates his time with us in her name, and to her memory.
In April, PBS broadcast our film on more than 250 stations nationwide. We performed our concert-drama to a sellout crowd at Lincoln Center in Avery Fisher Hall in New York City last April, where The Times reported the audience was “stunned into silence.”
On June 6, we brought Defiant Requiem to St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague at the invitation of Cardinal Dominik Duka, who welcomed the performance to Prague, fulfilling the promise that Rafael Schächter made to his chorus nearly 70 years ago that they would one day perform the Requiem in Prague, in freedom. Nearly 40 ambassadors to the Czech Republic from around the world attended the performance to honor conductor Rafael Schächter (1905-1945) who inspired hope, courage and dignity in the musicians, artists and scholars imprisoned in Terezín, and the thousands of inmates in their audiences from 1941-1945.
We are preparing several more screenings of the film, and live performances of Defiant Requiem are scheduled in Berlin, Germany on March 4 hosted by The Jewish Museum of Berlin, at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD on May 1, and the University of New Mexico on May 8. These join the growing list of six universities where we have performed and conducted seminars on the Holocaust era. Concerts are on the books through 2015.
Each time we perform Defiant Requiem, or show our film, people tell us that the story of Terezín is new to them, many have never heard of Terezín at all nor of the inspirational acts of courage and defiance that occurred there. That is why we speak out artistically and intellectually — to illuminate this remarkable story.
The Defiant Requiem Foundation will continue to tell the story of these brave prisoners who fought against the worst of mankind by turning to mankind’s highest achievements — the arts and humanities – as both balm and sword.
There is still much to do on behalf of Terezín’s inspiring legacy and we appreciate your continued support and interest in our programs.