As Jewish communities around the world mark Yom HaShoah on 28 April, a special event at the United Nations in New York will bring together a number of Jewish organisations to commemorate the Holocaust in a variety of innovative ways. Among them will be World ORT, demonstrating its groundbreaking program to memorialise the Holocaust through music, pioneered by British philanthropist Clive Marks OBE.
Mr Marks will be among the panellists at “Learning about the Holocaust through the Arts”?, a forum organised by the United Nations in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations and the World Jewish Congress. The forum will be webcast live from 6.30pm (New York time) at http://webtv.un.org/ .
With him will be Dr Shirli Gilbert, Senior Lecturer at the University of Southampton and author of the critically acclaimed Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps, who will present an overview of World ORT’s website at the forum.
Mr Marks, who has lectured for more than 30 years on the subject of music in the Third Reich and who chaired the London College of Music for 15 years, said World ORT’s website was helping to fill what was perhaps the largest single gap in understanding the Holocaust.
“This benefit of this project being online is it has the potential to grow indefinitely as long as we can continue to get the funding. Our participation in the forum at the United Nations is a superb opportunity to bring years of research and development to a much wider audience.”?
Dr Gilbert, who is content leader on the website, added: “Music and songs offer a unique insight into how people, including those who did not survive, understood what was happening to them at the time of the persecution and so offer a valuable addition to the testimonies of survivors after the fact,”? she said. “People are able to get a glimpse into what ordinary people like them experienced. In place of the huge, faceless number of six million victims, music offers perhaps a more personal way into understanding the Holocaust.”?
World ORT Website Developer Sadler Johnson said Music and the Holocaust ( http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/ ) was the most substantive, comprehensive website on this subject currently available. The music is placed in historical and cultural context with more than 300 articles that cover some of the most important themes, people and places to provide a compelling introduction to this multi-dimensional subject, to offer resources to teachers, and to stimulate interest.
World ORT Director General and CEO Shmuel Sisso will represent the global educational NGO at the forum.
“The Shoah was a programme of destruction that defies reason leaving our emotions as key to appreciating its horror. How better to stimulate emotional insights than through the arts This meeting at the UN is an important step in designing ways of reaching generations for whom the Holocaust will be an increasingly remote historical event, to engrave on their hearts as well as their minds the imperative to never forget. I am proud that World ORT is in a position to make a contribution through its Holocaust and Music website and deeply grateful to Clive Marks, Dr Gilbert and others who have made it such a superior educational resource.”?