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01 May 2014 13:30 Age: 3 yrs
Category: News Update, Events

Getting to the art of the Holocaust

There were tears at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Yom HaShoah when songs from World ORT’s Music and the Holocaust website were played.


Dr Shirli Gilbert (left) and Clive Marks OBE sitting together on the panel at the Learning about the Holocaust through the Arts forum held at the United Nations Headquarters.

The audience response of people at the ‘Learning about the Holocaust through the Arts’ reflected the panellists’ view that the arts can provide new generations with a personal way to comprehend the Shoah.

“The music that survived the Holocaust helps us to deepen the way in which we remember its victims and the ways in which we convey their memory,” Dr Shirli Gilbert, a senior lecturer at the University of Southampton and content leader for the Music and the Holocaust website, told the forum. “The songs help us to think about the victims as human beings unsure about what was happening to them and full of conflicting wishes, hopes, fears and predictions.”

The forum, which included representatives from more than 30 universities, including The Juilliard School, was organised by the United Nations in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations and the World Jewish Congress.

WJC Executive Vice-President and CEO Robert Singer said he was proud to be there with Dr Gilbert and Clive Marks OBE, the philanthropist whose unwavering commitment to the Music and the Holocaust website has guided its development since its inception several years ago.

“It was my honour and pleasure as Director General and CEO of World ORT to oversee the creation of this programme, one of the premier web-based resources about the Holocaust era,” Mr Singer said.

His successor as the top professional at World ORT, Shmuel Sisso, said after the forum that it had been an enlightening and deeply moving evening.

“But it was also an event of tremendous practical significance – bringing together experts and educators to explore innovative ways of bridging the growing historical gap between the Holocaust and new generations,” Mr Sisso said. “I am grateful to Robert for inviting World ORT’s participation and congratulate all involved in producing an event which I think is likely to impact the future direction of Holocaust education.”

Mr Marks concluded his remarks at the forum with a call to all present to work together and share knowledge and expertise.

“In that way we will have done our duty, or at least done something, towards keeping the memory alive of all those who went to their deaths in such an over-savage way,” he said.