From Holocaust to Revival: ‘Notes of Hope’ on Israel’s 70th

“I have no fear of the myriad forces arrayed against me on every side.” Psalms 3:2 (The Israel Bible™)

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, yet in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, on April 15, Jewish National Fund(JNF) – United Kingdom and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKKL) – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) hosted the world premiere of the “Notes of Hope” concert. The concert featured haunting music rescued from the concentration camps.

The music was composed amidst the horrors of the Holocaust. Yet, despite the tragic circumstances in which the pieces were composed, and without knowledge that the music would ever be discovered, a large portion of the music was surprisingly upbeat.

Renowned maestro, Francesco Lotoro, led The Ashdod Symphony Orchestra and a new generation of musicians, composed of students from music schools in the Negev.

Lotoro has made it his life’s work to find, research, orchestrate, and perform music written in the camps. For more than three decades, he has traveled the world, uncovered the hidden manuscripts and memories of survivors and pieced together this precious musical testimony. He has found more than 8,000 pieces of music, 11 of which were performed during the Notes of Hope concert.

Throughout the event, speakers celebrated in Israel’s eternal and undivided capital as a testament to the fact that the Jewish spirit can never be annihilated. That the existence and victory of the Jewish State means “never again” will the Jews be led to slaughter like sheep, their spirit will never be defeated, and they will always keep composing and playing, was a message delivered through the event.

An illustrative image from the “Notes of Hope” concert depicts a Jewish boy trapped in the Holocaust (Eliana Rudee)

The date of the evening was especially poignant, as it marked the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp by the British army.

“We know from the people and documents that survived that they composed in the hope that their music would someday be played again in a spirit that celebrated life and the defiant survival of the Jewish people,” wrote JNF in a release.

An illustrative image from the “Notes of Hope” concert of a Holocaust survivor’s hand being comforted over images of a concentration camp. (Eliana Rudee)

Some of the melodies were recorded on toilet paper with coal, a demonstration of the Jewish people’s drive to never stop creating and their use of music to hang onto life.

Honored guests included Israel’s Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, JNF-UK Chairman, Samuel Hayek, KKL-JNF Chairman, Daniel Atar, as well as hundreds of ambassadors and dignitaries.

The entire concert can be viewed here, with Breaking Israel News’ exclusive highlights of the evening below.

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