Thursday 29 January 2009 at 6.30pm
25 Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 4QY
As you no doubt know, the record of the Slovaks during WWII was one of the worst.
Now, 70 years after the outbreak of the war and 67 years from the official "Final Solution" plan, the younger Slovaks are facing up to their dark history in order to atone (if this is possible) and to alert their younger generation of the consequences of inhumanity, the cost of prejudice and hatred of "the other" -- it is most commendable and we truly appreciate it.
The Spiro Ark jointly with the Slovak Embassy in London are preparing the most amazing collaborative event to which the Deputy Prime Minister of Slovakia, Mr Dusan Caplovic in charge of Human Rights, Minorities and European issues will fly to join us together with the director of the Bratislava Jewish Museum who will bring with him an exhibition of photographs and documents of Jewish fate in Slovakia during that period.
There will be a lighting of 6 candles for the Jewish victims plus a 7th candle for those Righteous Gentiles who risked their lives and saved Jews, despite the hostile climate and the deadly consequences to those who were discovered.
The candles will be lit by the Slovak dignitaries as well as by Slovak children who currently live in London. The purpose of it is to involve the younger generation in being more than just passive spectators. Cantor Steven Leas will recite the prayer for the victims in his moving tenor voice.
The artistic programme will open with the reading of a poem, Forced March by Miklós Radnóti a Hungarian poet and a victim of the Holocaust. The poem was found in a little notebook in the pocket of his overcoat, when his body was exhumed from a mass grave.
Dr. Ronald Senator, renowned composer and author, will play and discuss excerpts of his Holocaust Requiem. Miriam Brickman, pianist will perform works by Schulhof, Ullmann and Haas from Terezin. Singer Therese Goble will sing cabaret songs composed in the camp.
A vegetarian reception will be prepared by a Jewish catering firm. It demonstrates the sensitivity of the Slovaks and their attempt to open a new page in the relationships with the Jewish minority which was a target of persecution during the war.
For all of those who have asked Nitza Spiro, director of the Spiro Ark, why she prepares such a programme with the Slovaks she replied that sons must not bare responsibility for the sins of their fathers and if one hopes to create a somewhat better world, one must break the vicious circle of hatred and revenge by education and example in open a new page.