THE power of the written word to explore and reflect on the tragedy of the Holocaust and its ongoing legacy runs through Lily Brett’s veins.
“I can’t separate it from any part of my life,” the keynote speaker at the Yom Hashoah commemorative ceremony, held at Sydney’s City Recital Hall tonight (Thursday, May 5), told The AJN ahead of the event.
Born in a displaced persons camp in Germany to parents who survived six years in the Lodz Ghetto in Poland and being transported to Auschwitz, the internationally acclaimed New York-based author and poet, who was raised in Melbourne, said, “It is the single most defining feature of who I am.”
The author of Lola Bensky, Too Many Men and The Auschwitz Poems added, “When I set out to tell a story, all I ever want to do is move people.
“I see indifference as being extremely dangerous.
“In a world where there is still hatred, the lessons of its danger apply to everyone.
“Any ways – including through books, plays, films and the visual arts – that can show that and help us to understand more, are so important.
“I think there’s a lot of hope because the third generation of survivors have a deep moral core – they think more critically and creatively and they are keen to speak up.”
The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Creative Responses to the Holocaust”, which NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) Shoah Remembrance Committee chair Danny Hochberg said “provides us with a unique insight into how artists, writers and poets are processing the meaning and message of the Holocaust”.
“Together we forge a resounding voice in response to the six million voices that were silenced,” he said.
A musical performance by Potbelleez member Ilan Kidron, whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors, a Righteous Among the Nations segment, a survivor testimony and singing by a Gen 3 youth choir will also be part of the program.
On Sunday, May 1 a Holocaust remembrance service and a name-reading ceremony of family members who perished were held at The Great Synagogue.
Keynote speaker Anthony Levin stressed the importance of identity, and JBOD CEO Vic Alhadeff described the name recitals as “extremely moving and poignant”.
The ceremony begins at 7.30pm. For more information, call (02) 9360 1600.