Photo Coverage | The Concert „Memory and Future”

The long-awaited  concert by the Polish-Israeli Youth Symphonic Orchestra „Memory and Future” took place on April 19, 2023 in the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera. The concert was organized by the Warsaw Ghetto Museum as a part of events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

“For me, a Polish Jew descended from a Holocaust Survivor, this memory has a very personal dimension.” – the MGW Director Albert Stankowski said and the opening ceremony. He underlined that the presence of Holocaust Survivors and Witnesses among the audience – Marian Turski, Wacław Kornblum and Anna Stupnicka-Bando – was of special importance for him.

“…It is important to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive so that such tragedies never happen again. I am delighted to see these young people from Poland and Israel, who are about to perform for us, as we pay tribute to the victims of the biggest genocide in the history of the world.” – he added. Mr Stankowski also expressed his gratitude to the government officials present among the audience: the President of Poland Andrzej Duda, the President of Israel Isaac Herzog, the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Vice-Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland Piotr Gliński.

Artur Hofman, the president of the The Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland, quoted a line by a Polish poet and writer Tadeusz Borowski: „”Iron scrap will be left after us, and hollow, mocking laughter of generations”, underlining that “the words of warning against oblivion and unreflectiveness”. “Because if we forget, evil will triumph. We, the few Polish Jews, are the guardians of the memory of the Holocaust and the Uprising,” he added.

Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński, in his turn, said: “Today, in rebuilt Warsaw, where ghetto walls once rose, we honour the memory of the unyielding spirit of the two nations – Jews and Poles – residents of this city.”

The musical part was opened by the performance of an Israeli cantor Israel Nachman Tugeman who recited a Jewish prayer kaddish yatom and El Malei Rachamim – a prayer for the dead.

The Polish-Israeli Youth Symphonic Orchestra performed Tenebrae by Elżbieta Sikora, which was written specially for this occasion. Tenebrae is a poem by Paul Celan, a Chernivtsi (former Bukovina) born German-speaking poet of Jewish origin, whose whole family was killed during the Holocaust. Sikora’s piece is woven around Tenebrae and another Celan’s poem, Stehen. “It is my personal message, my protest against all villainy and cruelty,” the composer said in the interview to Anna Dębowska.”

Polish Flowers was written after the poem by another Polish Jew, Julian Tuwim. The piece is deeply personal, especially its Mother section where Tuwim’s verses are combined with a fragment of Chopin’s Funeral March.

Performing: ️

  • Pavlo Tolstoy – tenor; ️
  • Polish National Youth Choir; ️
  • Polish-Israeli Youth Symphony Orchestra (Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance); ️
  • Anna Sułkowska-Migoń – conductor; ️
  • Nachman Turgeman – cantor;
  • Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny – artistic director of the Polish National Youth Choir;
  • Aleksandra Florek – soprano;
  • Dominika Kazimierska – alto;
  • Natalia Darkowska – alto

The concert is co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage within the task “Preparation of the project Polish-Israeli Symphony Orchestra. Young musicians commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.