A Film School, A Scholarship, A Prize in Honor of Mendel Grossman On his 72nd Death Anniversary

Pinchas

(Artist Pinchas Shaar)

Pinchas Shaar was born on March 15, 1923, in Lodz, Poland, when he was sixteen; he met the Polish painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski, a disciple of the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich, who encouraged Pinchas’ artistic education. Pinchas had his first exhibition in 1938 and also completed photomontages for a poetry book by Moshe Broderson that was published in 1939. Then, in September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Pinchas and his brothers escaped from Lodz as the German occupation began and headed east to Soviet occupied Poland.

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(The Lodz Ghetto)

The Germans established a ghetto for the Jews in Lodz, named Litzmannstadt, and required the residents to perform forced labor. Pinchas, like his other family members, first worked in a factory. But when his artistic talents were discovered, he was employed producing signs and charts for the Statistical Office, just like Mendel Grossman who also worked as a photographer in the same department. In 1944, the Germans destroyed the ghetto and deported the inhabitants to concentration camps. Pinchas, with his father and brothers, was sent to Sachsenhausen, where they were used as forced laborers until the Soviet Army liberated the camp in 1945.

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(Liberation of the Camps)

The family returned to Lodz in May 1945. However, Pinchas could not bear to remain in the place where so much destruction had occurred and he left for Germany, and then settled in France. Mendel Grossman was not so fortunate he was taken to Berlin and died on a death march on April 30th 1945, 72 years ago.01

(Jews taken from the Ghetto to the Camps)

One may wonder why am I speaking about Shaar Pinchas on the 72-Death Anniversary of Mendel Grossman? The reason for me remembering Shaar Pinchas is because I am constantly reminded of his words about Mendel Grossman in a book Holocaust Chronicles by Robert Moses Shapiro in a chapter “Photographic Bard of the Lodz Ghetto, Pinchas Shaar -N.York City”, Pichas knew Mendel well, as they were both raised in Lodz, and both often bumped into each other at their regular creative circle of artist get together’s, as Mendel Grossman apart from being a photographer was a impressive artist.

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Words of Pinchas Shaar on Mendel Grossman “ Before I finish my personal account of my great friend I would like to announce my personal wish that one day in the near future someone will establish a scholarship or prize for Jewish photojournalism, as Americans have done for Robert Capa. That would be the best memorial and monument for the mentesh and photojournalist Mendel Grossman.

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(Mendel Grossman working in his darkroom in the Lodz ghetto)

These words of Shaar Pinchas kept ringing in my ears when I was recently doing a two day filmmaking workshop in Khandala last week, for the Arch Diocesan Youth, Mumbai for the year 2017, I shared with the young boy’s and girls all Catholic youths with little or no understanding of the Holocaust, about Mendel Grossman and his passion as a photographer, way ahead of his time, he captured in pictures the unjust that were done in the Lodz ghetto, which I felt was very crucial, specially with the times that we live in today.

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(Addressing the youth at the Filmmaking camp)

. I could see if only they were shaped in to see things as just plain human beings more than anything else, they could be lead to do a great service to humanity and this country as future filmmakers. And there I wished, and I do wish if I could one day maybe start a film school? Or through another organization, establish a scholarship, or prize, in memory of Mendel Grossman. I just wish I could do something to contribute to the memory of Mendel Grossman in my lifetime G-d willing…

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(Future Filmmakers at work at the camp)

I could finally now visit the “Ghetto’s Fighters House Museum” in Galilee, Israel soon, who have been very kind to send me a letter of invitation, on my request last year to visit their Archive and complete my research on Mendel Grossman and the Lodz Ghetto.

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(“Ghetto’s Fighters House Museum” Galilee, Israel)

Special thanks to Mr Zvi Oren and Anat Bratman-Elhalel-Director of Ghetto Fighters House Museum, Galilee, Israel for sending me an invitation letter and permission for using the photographs of Mendel Grossman and the Lodz ghetto in this article.

 

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Remembering the Son of the Soil of Singapore, David Marshall on his 21st Death Anniversary

David Marshall

(David Marshall (Mashal) Born March 12 1908-Death December 12 1995-19th of Kislev, 5756)

 

March 12, 1908, is the birthdate of David Marshall, the first head of government of a semi-independent Singapore. Although Marshall’s tenure as Singapore’s chief minister was short just 14 months, but many of his ideas were adopted by later governments, and he is remembered fondly in the island nation for his integrity, passion and great patriotism.

David Saul Marshall was born in Singapore, the eldest of the seven children of Saul Nissim Mashal (the family’s original surname) and Flora Eziekel Mashal, Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Baghdad.

When he was six, David’s mother took him and his siblings back to Baghdad for a family visit. Unfortunately, World War I had begun, and the Turkish forces occupying the city put them under house arrest. They would remain in Iraq for more than three years. On his return to Singapore, David was educated at St. Andrew’s School and at Raffles Institution, after which his intention was to claim a Queen’s Scholarship to study medicine in London. But after contracting tuberculosis, in 1925, he was instead sent to a sanatorium in Switzerland, after which he moved on to Belgium to study the business of textile manufacturing. Later he worked in the trade for a while back in Singapore before traveling to London to study law.

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Marshall had become interested in politics years earlier, giving his first political speech at age 19, at a YMCA in Singapore. Responding to a recent statement by a British MP who called the crown colony a “pestilential and immoral cesspool,” Marshall turned to his audience and asked it rhetorically, “Who is responsible for making this cesspool?” Much later, he said he had become a politician in order to fight the racism that he felt characterized the “’white man, brown man’ relationship… Like you call me ‘Jowdy Jew, brush my shoe,’ and next thing I know is I hit you on the nose… I wanted to break the sonic barrier against Asians and especially against Jews.”

After graduating law at the University of London, he was called to the bar in 1937. The next year, following German’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, Marshall volunteered for the Singapore Volunteer Corps of the British army.

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(David Marshall as Singapore’s first Chief Minister in 1955)

He was captured when Singapore fell to Japanese forces, in February 1942, and spent the next three years as a prisoner of war, passing through a total of 26 different camps, and for a period being forced to work in a Japanese mine in Hokkaido island. A lot of murder suspects go free, following his return to Singapore after World War II, Marshall began a career as a criminal defense attorney, and was an amazing success. He claimed to have won acquittals for 99 out of 100 murder suspects he defended. When Lee Kuan Yew abolished the jury system in Singapore, in 1969, he pointed to Marshall’s record as one of the reasons for the move.

David Marshall was a staunch believer in Singaporean independence from Britain. In 1953, that goal was partially attained, with the U.K. granting domestic self-governance. The Labor Front party tapped Marshall to be its leader and went on to emerge in the lead after the first election in April 1955. Marshall was named chief minister and formed a minority government.

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(1961 David Marshall marries Jean Mary Gray in Singapore)

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(David Marshall and Jean Marshall with their 2 Daughters)

His period in office was marked with labor unrest and severe racial tensions. In 1956, after failing to negotiate complete independence during talks in London, he resigned. The following year, he founded the Workers Party of Singapore, but had only limited success as its leader, and left politics for good in 1963, returning to his legal career. In 1978, Marshall was named Singapore’s first ambassador to France, and in the years that followed, he also became envoy to Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

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(In 1955 standing at the right in New Delhi with India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru)

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(Putting a wreath At Mahatma Gandhi’s Memorial New Delhi 1955)

He retired from the diplomatic corps in 1993. David Marshall died of lung cancer, on December 12, 1995. In its obituary, the London Independent praised Marshall as “an egalitarian, a humanitarian full of compassion, [and] a champion of the underdog,” who, “While he admired modern Singapore’s achievements … pleaded for more open political debate, a more independent-minded press, a more caring society and a kinder judicial system, free from emergency laws or capital punishment.”

On a closing note I was fortunate to get a copy of a book on the life of David Marshall by Kevin Tan when I visited Singapore in the month of September 2016 with whom I got in touch with who lives in Singapore and will be a part of my film.

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( Author Kevin Tan’s book on the life of David Marshall)

After doing a couple of searches if there was any film made on his life I found non, so I decided to do some research on his life, apart from his role in politics in Singapore he was an amazing, interesting  colorful person, and a unique criminal lawyer, but to my dismay found that many who were born in Singapore after 1965, rarely know who he was, only if you were a law student, you may hear or read about him, it is then that I  felt that I should make a short film on his contribution to Singapore, which potrays that he was a true “Son of the Soil of Singapore”, titled in Arabic “Ibn el Balad of Singapore”, as his family had come from Iraq-Baghdad, and his original surname Mashal-means in Arabic-flame-torch in Hebrew-parable, which later was anglicised to Marshall.

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(Jonathan Marshall second from left with his mother Jean Marshall)

I was very fortunate to also get in touch with his youngest son Jonathan Marshall who also lives in Singapore who agreed to meet up with me and known more about the project when I would visit Singapore before the 12th of December, as I had desired to go to his grave on the 12th of December and sing  and play the Erhu  on the  melody of Ravel’s Kaddish with a couple of Chinese musicians and some community members, which I unfortunately couldn’t make it to, but I hope to do so soon.

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Because of my inability to attend and do what I had desired to do, I requested Rabbi Nathan Alfred from the UHC Singapore community, who readily obliged and agreed to go to the Jewish Cemetery at Chua Chu Kang Road in Singapore today morning and light a Yatzerit candle at the burial site of David Marshall, below and above are the pictures he posted to me today morning from Singapore, I am truly grateful to him and Mr Bill Gelman another member of the UHC Singapore community for taking the time and effort to go and pay their respect’s and remember David Marshall on behalf of many of us from the city of Mumbai-India, and Singapore.

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(Rabbi Nathan Alfred of the UHC-Singapore at the burial site of David Marshall)

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Bill Gelman member of the UHC-Singapore at the burial site of David Marshall)

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Ravel’s Kaddish-Mourners Kaddish

 

Yitgadal V’yitkadash Sh’mei Raba

B’alma Di-v’ra Chirutei,

V’yamlich Malchutei B’chayeichon

Uvyomeichon Uvchayei d’chol Beit Yisrael,

Ba’agala Uvizman Kariv, V’im’ru: “Amen.”

(Y’hei Sh’mei Raba M’varach L’alam Ul’almei Almaya.)

Yitbarach V’yishtabach, V’yitpa’ar

V’yitromam V’yitnaseh, V’yithadar

V’yit’aleh V’yit’halal

Sh’mei d’kud’sha, B’rich hu,

L’eila min-kol-Birchata V’shirata, Tushb’chata

V’nechemata Da’amiran Ah

B’alma Ah! Ah! Ah!, V’im’ru: “Amen.”

(Y’hei shlama raba min-sh’maya v’chayim aleinu

v’al-kol-yisrael, v’im’ru: “amen.”

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu

v’al kol-yisrael, v’imru: “amen.”)

Translation:

 Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world

which He has created according to His will.

May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days,

and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon;

and say, Amen.

 

(May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.)

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored,

adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He,

beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that

are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

 (May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us

and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights,

may He create peace for us and for all Israel;

and say, Amen.)

 

Remembering Jacqueline Du Pre-The Kol Nidre’s Hypnotic Power On Jacqueline du Pre-26 January 1945 –October 12 1987

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The Kol Nidre has exercised a powerful religious and musical influence over the centuries. One of the adjectives most commonly used to describe the Kol Nidre – the opening prayer recited on the eve of Yom Kippur – is “haunting”.

It greatly influenced the great cellist Jacqueline Du Pre is said to have asked that her recording of Kol Nidre be played by her bedside as she lay dying.

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For me personally this Yom Kippur, I remembered and heard her peice of the Kol Nidre that she played when she was only 16 years old , also heard many other eminent Cantors, Violinist, Cellist, from different traditions, but still Du Pre’s Kol Nidre stands out, for me.

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Her first recording of the Kol Nidre-recorded in the 60’s

She knew music, and she knew her urgent need: to hear the haunting strains of this mysterious, magical melody, leading into a personal and communal song of remembrance and of promise Jacqueline Mary du Pré (“Jackie” to her family and friends) became known as an eminent cellist in August 1965, when she made her famous recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in e minor with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli. Later described as one of “the greatest recordings of the century,” this was a breakthrough in her career. Although her repertoire was varied and impressive, she won an unsurpassed reputation as a great cellist particularly in this concerto, which meant so much to her and which she performed countless times during the years, always fully committed.

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With her husband Conductor Daniel Barenboim

Her account of the Elgar concerto gave it a powerful modern twist and her expressive interpretation was a revelation for many. (A second commercial recording of the Elgar concerto with du Pré as soloist was taken from a live performance in Philadelphia in November 1970, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, then already her husband.)

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Jacqueline Du Pre photo by Baron Studios, 5 x 4 inch film negative, 27 May 1960

Du Pré was born in Oxford, on January 26, 1945, the youngest daughter of Derek and Iris, in whose middle class family music was part of daily life. She had a sister, Hilary, and a brother, Piers. Her father’s family came from the Channel Islands and this is the origin of the French name. Her mother was a fine pianist and a gifted teacher. The first time Jacqueline actually grasped a cello to play was when she was four years old, starting with lessons from her mother. At the age of six she began receiving lessons at the London Cello School. When she was ten years old she won first prize (the Suggia Gift Award), at an international competition. This enabled her to further her studies under William Pleeth at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. From the age of fourteen to fifteen she studied with world-famous cellists Pablo Casals in Switzerland, Paul Tortelier in Paris and Mstislav Rostropovich in Russia—all of whom praised her talent.

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Picture of Jacqueline Du Pre and her teacher Mstislav Rostropovich

Her début as a cellist at the Wigmore Hall, London, on March 1, 1961, received highly favorable reviews. She soon became one of the most outstanding and beloved cellists in the world. Modest, sincere and in full command of her instrument, she played in an expressive and emotional manner, as well as with precision and clarity of tone, from 1964 using a Stradivarius cello which an anonymous admirer had given her. At Christmas 1966 she met the Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. Her love affair and professional cooperation with Barenboim and her friendship with musicians such as Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Zubin Mehta led to the film by Christopher Nupen of their performance of Schubert’s “Trout” Piano Quintet (1969).

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With her husband Conductor Daniel Barenboim

Du Pré and Daniel Barenboim visited Israel in summer 1967, giving concerts and recitals before, during and after the Six- Day War. Their Jewish wedding ceremony, followed by an official celebration, took place in July 1967. Before the marriage, which aroused much public interest and enthusiasm in Israel, she converted to Judaism. All this seemed to her quite natural and easy and not at all problematic.

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As she said in a conversation with William Wordsworth, editor of the book Jacqueline du Pré: Impressions (London, 1983): “I think the thing that made it so easy for me is that the Jewish religion is perhaps the most abstract. Since I was a child I had always wanted to be Jewish, not in any definite way, because, of course, I didn’t understand anything about it. Possibly it may somehow have been to do with the fact that so many musicians are Jewish.

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In a BBC Television and Radio broadcast [on New Year’s Eve 1981 she said: “Daniel and I wanted our children brought up in the Jewish faith. But we have no children. I am sometimes asked if religion has helped me and I always reply: To be quite honest, not as much as music, because for me the Judaism is almost bound up in the music. I just cannot separate them or indicate their boundaries.

Its in this statement of her’s, that I get my answer as to why her Kol Nidre-Stands Out!

In the middle of her successful international career the sound of du Pré’s cello suddenly started its irreversible decline. She began to lose sensitivity in her fingers and had to cancel performances and engagements. After a number of checkups, the final diagnosis, in October 1973, was multiple sclerosis. This was a real tragedy. Later on, during years of struggling against the illness, she gave master classes, lessons and courses while sitting in a wheelchair. But she was no longer able to play.

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Jacqueline Du Pre in her wheel chair with her husband Daniel Barenboim by her side

Barenboim assisted her in a wonderful way, despite his many obligations and performances. Before her cello became silent, she fortunately managed to record some of the best works for cello—both concertos and sonatas, which are still available.

Blessed with a genuine gift of optimism and hope, du Pré often described herself as a lucky person, despite her tragic situation. On October 19, 1987, at the age of forty-two, she died at her home in London and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Golders Green. Many famous musicians and old friends attended the funeral. Barenboim recited the kaddish and Rabbi Albert Friedlander read Psalm 23 in Hebrew.

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Jacqueline Du Pre grave stone  in the Jewish cemetery in Golders Green UK

A Jacqueline du Pré Research Fund for Multiple Sclerosis was founded in the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Austria. Remembered as one of the greatest and most humane cellists ever, du Pré was awarded numerous honors, including the Order of the British Empire (1976) and honorary degrees from the universities of London, Leeds, Durham, Oxford and others.

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In 2004, Barenboim donated one of du Pré’s valuable instruments to a talented young Israeli cellist, Amichai Grosz, a member of the Jerusalem Quartet.

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Israeli cellist, Amichai Grosz

For me, Music is a companion whom you carry with you, as long as you live and stays with you as a part of life, even after your death, just like Images, that is why Music and Images combined together conveys a feeling which has to be felt and experienced.

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Will continue to write on Jacqueline Du Pre music specially the Kol Nidre, and film maker Christopher Nupen who was a close personal friend up until her death. His films capture her vitality and exuberantly physical playing. And how I decided to again connect myself as a film maker, to playing music again after I stopped playing the guitar and rekindled my passion to play  the guitar, along with  picking up the Erhu-A two string Chinese violin, again connected to the Kol Nidre, after hearing Patty Chan play the Kol Nidre.

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Aramaic Text of the Kol Nidre in the Mazhor-Jewish High Holidays Prayer Book

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Patty Chan on the Erhu on the Kol Nidre Project

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The Erhu Master player George Gao one of favourite Erhu players, apart from Patty Chan

 Jacqueline Du Pre recording of the Kol Nidre

Remembering Raphael-Rafi Schachter final act -72 years later

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The only known photo of Theresienstadt inmates performing Verdi’s Requiem Mass, taken during the final performance on June 23, 1944. Raphael ‘Rafi’ Schachter is seen conducting the choir, with Adolf Eichmann and an International Red Cross delegation in the audience (courtesy: The Terezin Foundation)

Jewish Prisoners sing to the Nazis, Verdi’s Requiem a Catholic funeral mass for the dead, On June 23-1944

Despite starvation and rampant illness in Theresienstadt ghetto and camp in Terzin during World War 2, Raphael Schachter a Czech Jewish Conductor known as Rafi trained dozens of fellow inmates to perform Verdi’s Requiem on sixteen occasions. There was only one score to go around, smuggled in by Schachter, so he taught the choir by rote. The inmate choir was always hungry, not to mention exhausted from forced labor; many were ill.

As Schachter’s barracks mate and co-conspirator in music, Edgar Krasa who survived the Holocaust, sang bass in the choir of all sixteen performances. Toward the end of the camp’s existence, both men were deported to Auschwitz, after which Schachter died in a death march.

Edgar says “Rafi Schachter made the prisoners feel they had some element of control over their circumstances, and that they weren’t just puppets waiting to be brought to their deaths,” “Schachter took the prisoners from despondency of their fate to direct action and participation, and this gave them a lot of strength and some power,” “He gave them a choice.”

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Raphael Schachter Czech Jewish Conductor

“People are always going to create, even when they are confronted with the most terrible situations that life deals out, they will still react, and they still have humanity”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Theresienstadt’s Council of Jewish Elders — nominally in charge of the ghetto — was vehemently opposed to Schachter’s productions. Not only were Jews performing a Catholic funeral mass, but also it was possible the camp’s Nazi rulers would see an act of defiance and deport the entire cast. It was also said that by performing their own funeral mass, the Jewish prisoners were “apologizing for existing.”

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Poster of Verdi’s Requiem

To end the debate, Schachter offered each performer the opportunity to bow out of the production, but not one of them did so. After performing the Requiem fifteen times to enraptured audiences, the inmate choir gathered for what would be its final performance on June 23, 1944.

Seated in the front row was Adolf Eichmann, a key architect of the Holocaust’s logistics, and other SS officials. A Red Cross delegation was also in attendance, as part of its mission to vet the camp for signs of genocide. If only in the minds of the imprisoned choir members, Verdi’s funeral mass was used to condemn the Nazi perpetrators watching their Jewish victims perform.

As Schachter most famously told his choir, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them.”

The conclusion if you read the [Requiem’s] text as a prisoner not as a Catholic, then the secret comes out as to why they did it.

Lyrics of

Requiem Aeternum

 

 Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord

And let perpetual light shine upon them

A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Zion

And a vow shall be paid to thee in Jerusalem

Hear my prayer

 

All flesh shall come before you

Eternal rest give unto the dead, O Lord

And let perpetual light shine upon them

Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord

And let perpetual light shine upon them.

 

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

 

This day, this day of wrath

shall consume the world in ashes,

as foretold by David and the Sibyl.

 

What trembling there will be

When the judge shall come

to weigh everything strictly!

 

The trumpet, scattering its awful sound

Across the graves of all lands

Summons all before the throne.

 

Death and nature shall be stunned

When mankind arises

To render account before the judge.

 

The written book shall be brought

In which all is contained

Whereby the world shall be judged

 

When the judge takes his seat

all that is hidden shall appear

Nothing will remain unavenged.

 

What shall I, a wretch, say then?

To which protector shall I appeal

When even the just man is barely safe?

 

– Rex tremendae— King of awful majesty

You freely save those worthy of salvation

Save me, found of pity.

 

–Recordare—- Remember, gentle Jesus

that I am the reason for your time on earth,

do not cast me out on that day

 

Seeking me, you sank down wearily,

you saved me by enduring the cross,

such travail must not be in vain.

 

Righteous judge of vengeance,

award the gift of forgiveness

before the day of reckoning.

 

—Ingemisco—– I groan as one guilty,

my face blushes with guilt;

spare the suppliant, O God.

 

Thou who didsnt absolve Mary [Magdalen]

and hear the prayer of the thied

hast given me hope, too.

 

My prayers are not worthy,

but Thou, O good one, show mercy,

lest I burn in everlasting fire,

 

Give me a place among the sheep,

and separate me from the goats,

placing me on Thy right hand.

 

When the damned are confounded

and consigned to keen flames,

call me with the blessed.

 

I pray, suppliant and kneeling,

a heart as contrite as ashes;

take Thou my ending into Thy care.

 

–Lacrimosa—- That day is one of weeping,

on which shall rise again from the ashes

the guilty man, to be judged.

 

Therefore spare this one, O God,

merciful Lord Jesus:

Give them rest. Amen.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, king of glory,

deliver the soulds of all the faithful departed

from the pains of Hell

and the bottomless pit.

 

Deliver them from the jaws of the lion,

lest hell engulf them,

lest they be plunged into darkness;

 

but let the holy standard-bearer Michael

lead them into the holy light,

as once you promised to Abraham

and to his seed.

 

Lord, in praise we offer you

Sacrifices and prayers,

accept them on behalf of those

who we remember this day:

 

Lord, make them pass

from death to life,

as once you promised to Abraham

and to his seed.

 

Holy, holy, holy

Lord God of hosts!

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest!

 

Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest!

 

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

Grant them rest.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

Grant them eternal rest.

 

Let everlasting light shine on them, O Lord

with your saints for ever:

for you art merciful.

 

Eternal rest grant them, O Lord;

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

With your saints for ever

for Thou art merciful.

 

Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death

on that awful day

when the heavens and earth shall be shaken

and you shall come to judge the world by fire.

 

I am seized with fear and trembling

until the trial is at hand and the wrath to come:

when the heavens and earth shall be shaken.

Note (Raphael Schachter did make some minor changes to the original score which was played in Terezin, but the amazing fact is that the entire choir sang the entire parts in orignal Latin by rote even though they never had ever read or learnt a word of Latin) 
A must see film based on Raphael Schachter-Defiant Requiem-link below

Phenomenon of the Lodz Ghetto in my life

On it’s 71st Anniversary of its Liberation on 19 January 1945

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(Mendel Grosman, kneeling below taking photographs of a deportation)

By the end of August 1944 over 68,500 Jews from the Lodz ghetto had been deported to Auschwitz, The Lodz ghetto was liberated by the Soviet and Polish army units when they entered Lodz on January 19, 1945, they found only 877 Jews who had been left in the former ghetto by the Nazis to carry out cleanup operations.

What must have gone through the hearts and minds of the 877 survivor’s of the ghetto when they were liberated? Were they truly liberated? I don’t know the answer to that?

But I felt very compelled to enter into the Lodz ghetto when I personally saw and studied the photographs taken by Mendel Grosman, Henryk Ross, but specially through Mendel Grosman through his eyes and taking this journey with him in the ghetto with his Leica camera and later on this train journey when he was deported from the Radezgast station from Lodz to Berlin to the Sachsenhausen Camp in Berlin, Germany.

Königs Wusterhausen camp was evacuated on April 26, 1945. Due to this Grosman was sent on a “Death March” on this march Grosman was shot to death by an SS guard after tripping along the way with his Leica camera still holding it tight in his hands. Four days on this journey on April 30th 1945 at age 32 Mendel Grosman was shot dead three months later after the liberation of the Lodz ghetto.

What was my journey like in the ghetto through Mendel pictures? Experience? It has been imprinted in my celluloid canvas memory, which I will bring to life through my forthcoming film “Face to Face”.

I shot a short experimental film on Mendel Grosman last moments on the death march on his 70th death anniversary, I was just trying to feel from his-POV- point of view-it was like, a rehearsal for me trying to get under the skin, even if it was only one percent, of what he must have felt on his last journey.

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Video link-https://vimeo.com/126527653

What I learnt from his photographs and the people in it? Cherish life till you have it, even if you know its short, live it fully without any compromises, better still, live your life for others around you, extending beyond your family and friends.

Special thanks to the “Ghetto Fighters Museum Archive, Israel-Director Mr Zvi Orenfor giving permission to use the photos of Mendel Grosman.