Monday, April 13, 2015
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
- Biographie Europ+ñischer Synagogalchor in English – Bio
- Speech of Walter Stechel, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Musical Notes from the Cantor: Beny’s Blog
- Cantor Maissner awarded The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Incredible link to virtual reconstruction of the Y in Hannover
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.