Thursday, October 9at 7.30 pmCzech Consulate General / Bohemian National Hall321 East 73rd Street
New York, NY 10021
However, reservations are required – To reserve tickets please send an e-mail to email@example.com or call Elysium – between two continents at 212-744 4875
Paul Aron Sandfort (1930 – 2007), was deported to Theresienstadt as a child and played the trumpet in the ghetto orchestra. Years later he depicted his experiences there in several playsand novels. Until his death, Paul Aron Sandfort was an advisor and Honorary Artistic Director of Elysium – btc.
Viktor Ullmann, composer and music critic, was sent with one of the last transports in October 1944 from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz and murdered there immediately after his arrival.
The Viennese cabaret artist, Leo Strauss, who also was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944, tried to divert his fellow inmates from the sufferings of life in the camp with his tartly pointed cabaret programs. At least for the duration of those programs he wanted to cheer them up.
A Literary Collage featuring texts byAlice Herz-Sommer, Georg Kafka,Paul Aron Sandfort, Leo Strauss, Viktor Ullmann,and Ilse Weber
Concept & Introduction: Michael Lahr
Recitation: Gregorij H. von Leitis
The pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, born in Prague in 1903, survived the Holocaust. Until her death on February 23, 2014 she served as Honorary Artistic Director of Elysium. When confronted again with the atrocities of the Holocaust during the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, Alice came to the conclusion: “One must not hate. Man must not be allowed to learn how to hate!”
In the infamous extermination machinery of the NS-Regime, Theresienstadt played a very special role. It was a propaganda instrument to distract the world from the Final Solution. For a certain period of time the inmates of Theresienstadt had the chance to be active artistically. They could organize readings, concerts, plays, even cabaret performances. But behind this cynical disguise, the systematic death machinery of the Holocaust continued to function without constraints.The Nazis relentlessly stoked hate against the Jews. They tried to dehumanize and degrade them.But the artists who were imprisoned in Theresienstadt, countered this hate – which Graham Greene so aptly described as a failure of imagination – with a powerful offensive of imagination.With their artistic fantasy, their creative power, their inventive energy they lifted up the spirit of their fellow inmates.
The literary collage “Hate is a Failure of Imagination” is a testament to the power of imagination and to the profound love and humanity of the artists who were imprisoned in the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt.
“By no means did we sit weepingat the rivers of Babylon,and our cultural will was equal toour will to live.”
– Viktor Ullmann
Ilse Weber wrote more than 60 poems during her imprisonmentin Theresienstadt. In those poems she described in great detail daily life in the camp. Ilse Weber was killed in Auschwitz, but her poems were rescued.
The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive’s MissionArt and education without borders.Education and knowledge as efficient tools to fight against ignorance, discrimination and
hatred. Familiarizing the young generation with the treasures of exiled art to help them
create a meaningful future that incorporates the lessons learned from history.
The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive was founded in 1995 by Michael Lahr and Gregorij
H. von Leitis to foster the academic dialogue between the US and Europe by means of