President's message from Murry Sidlin
Warm wishes to all of you as we head into the Season of Lights. I continue to be grateful for the popularity of our Defiant Requiem film several years after its release and significant worldwide broadcasts. In the month of November alone, the film was screened three times. At the beautiful and enormously active town library in Princeton, NJ, situated virtually on the campus of the University, several hundred people watched and participated in a heartfelt discussion about the courage of the Terezín prisoners to lecture, perform, compose, paint and draw as nutrition for the soul. This discussion lasted well over an hour.
The next weekend, I went to Boca Raton, Florida for two same-day screenings, which were attended by more than 900 people. The screenings were presented by The March For The Living of the Jewish Federation of South Florida. Again, our film was received with great sensitivity and extraordinary interest. The Q&A sessions could have continued far into the night.
After the first of the two screenings, a man came over to me and introduced himself as the head of Sports Psychology at a local major university. He suggested that his athletes could benefit widely by learning about the stamina and strength of the Terezín prisoners who dedicated themselves to their artistic endeavors despite the most brutal of hardships. Dr. Mitch Smith wants to inspire his athletes, and other student athletes in the area, to deepen their understanding of teamwork, dedication and compassion in achieving excellence under adverse conditions.
We have long sought ways to explore new applications of the Terezín paradigm, and working with athletes may be a good step in that direction.
The next weekend Stu and I went to USC, where the film again was screened and wonderfully received. Stu then delivered the prestigious Jerome Nemer Lecture in which he spoke brilliantly about how to offer some form of justice, no matter how “imperfect” to the survivor-victims of the Shoah. I was honored to participate in the post-screening panel with Stu and distinguished Professor Nicholas Strimple. Stu’s complete remarks are available in this eNewsletter.
There will be five additional screenings in the spring: two in February at DePaul University; The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles; in Anchorage, AK in association with our performance of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín; and in May at The Czech Center in New York. New projects and many performances lay ahead. In our next eNewsletter, we hope to share more details about a second major film project with you. Thanks to our Board of Directors for their dedication and enthusiasm, our extraordinary Executive Director, Louisa Hollman, our talented miracle worker of a General Manager Mark Rulison, David Welch our superb Finance Director, and Leslie Clesner, our terrific Executive Assistant and of course, to Stu Eizenstat, the spirit and force behind everything we do.