In education, music

Monday, April 13, 2015
7:30 p.m.

By Cantor Benjamin Maissner.

This is my personal family story. This is how I grew up in the household of a generation that fled the inferno of Europe during the Shoah. From the ashes of a destroyed culture of  European Jewry to present day, I have witnessed personally but slowly the rebuilding of trust and understanding between Germans and Jews, through the glorious music of  western European Jewry. Jewish life in Germany shattered with the broken glass of Kristallnacht.  We cannot fully reconstruct the picture. We cannot rebuild the magnificent synagogues of the past. We can only collect the shards, the sounds, the images that remain and look at them as a faint reflection of what was and what is lost.

For decades now, together with my wife, Hope, I have been back to Hannover,  the city of my family and the city where the magnificent voice of the legendary. The last Oberkantor (Chief Cantor), Israel Alter, was radiating and is still resounding to this day in the memory of the city.  I was privileged to participate in many official commemorative events such as the liberation of Bergen Belsen, the marking of the 75th  anniversary of Kristallnacht and recently with the presence of high officials and dignitaries, marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. All of these celebrations and renewal of Western European Jewish Music have been led by the visionary Professor Andor Izsak, the president of the European Center of Jewish Music singing our  Jewish music which is alive and thriving, with the most famous German choirs like the Hamburg, Heidelberg and The “European Synagogalchor” — an experience beyond words.

And now, a new days of hope and reconciliation brought me back to my family’s roots culminating with receiving of the Cross of Merit from the Federal Government of Germany.

Hope and I will be honoured to share this life story with you on Monday, April 13th at 7:30 pm, for what will be a fascinating and inspiring evening.

Video Preview from the Cantor

Links:

This is Beny’s personal family story. From the ashes of European Jewry to present day Beny has witnessed the rebuilding of trust and understanding between Germans and Jews, through the glorious music of western European Jewry.   Jewish life in Germany shattered with the broken glass of Kristallnacht and now, we cannot fully reconstruct the picture. We can only collect the shards that remain and look at them as a faint reflection of what was and what is lost.

And now, a new day of hope and reconciliation brought Cantor Maissner back to his family’s roots culminating with receiving of the cross of Merit from the federal Government of Germany. Join Beny for what will be a fascinating and inspiring conversation.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Andrea Baltman
    Reply

    I am so sorry that I will be unable to attend Monday evening but like MS Goldblatt I hope someone records this special evening so I will be able to see it along with others who may also have missed attending
    All the best
    Andrea Baltman

  • Rochelle Green
    Reply

    I am so proud of you–congratulations may you continue to make music and with music peace in the world

  • Michaele-Sue Goldblatt
    Reply

    Dear Beny and Hope,

    I’m so sorry that I will be out of town this Monday. I hope someone will video your presentation so that others and I will be able to also hear / see it.

    MS

  • Rouhama Danto
    Reply

    Dear Hope and Beny,
    I know how torn , emotionally, you were about visiting Germany ,after what our people went through there. But your decision was courageous and you turned your visits to a positive and constructive mission.
    Kol Hakavod!
    I look forward to hear everything !
    Love
    Rouhama

  • Phyllis Wintraub
    Reply

    Over many years, I have been privileged to hear about some of your family’s life and experiences in both pre and post war Germany. I look forward in April to learning more about your most recent visit(s). I am especially excited to hear about the reconciliation that you have been able to achieve for your family,and yourself through Jewish music.

    I am pleased that there are Germans who are open,honest and interested enough about their own relationships with Jews then and now, and are finally willing to be truthful about the Holocaust. It is important that these adults acknowledge their sordid past and that they teach their children about how and why they almost completely decimated our people. In light of the recent outbreak of anti-Semitism in all of Europe, it becomes even more obvious that, perish the thought, it could happen again.

    I look forward to your presentation and hope that many in our congregation will be there to hear about what you have accomplished both musically and in creating an atmosphere of trust and admiration amongst both our people.

    • Beny Maissner
      Reply

      Thank you Phyllis for your kind words
      I hope it goes well and people will be interested
      See you there with Hope and Me

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