Tuesday, April 17, 2012 , Updated 12:00 p.m., April 19, 2012
Dallas’ Holocaust Remembrance Day includes concert with a viola rescued from Nazi Germany
The musician who now owns the instrument uses it to teach lessons about the Holocaust.
DALLAS Thursday, April 19 is Holocaust Remembrance Day, an international commemoration of the death of 6 million Jewish people at the hands of Nazis. In Dallas, a Holocaust educator named Tamara Freeman will perform music on a viola from 1935 that was owned by a Jewish musician in Germany and secretly shipped to the U.S.
The recital is at 6:30 p.m. April 19 at Temple Shalom in Dallas. The event is free and open to the public.
Freeman created America's first and only Holocaust music curriculum for grades K-12. "An ethnomusicologist and accomplished violist, Dr. Freeman instructs students of all ages in lessons of morality, respect, and courage by teaching them how to sing beautiful and poignant songs from the WWII ghettos and concentration camps that were composed by children and teenagers," reads a press release.
The instrument Freeman will play was made for "Miss Butzell," a Hungarian Jewish woman who moved to Germany to be a music teacher. A petite person, her viola was custom-made to fit her small hands. The story about the viola and its owner is pretty fascinating:
Dr. Freeman, the fifth owner of the Bausch viola, acquired the instrument in 1998 from Mr. Robert Ames, a bow-maker and string instrument dealer in northern New Jersey. Dr. Freeman visited Mr. Ames to have her viola bows rehaired and to inquire about the possible purchase of a fine quality concert viola. Mr. Ames presented the Bausch viola and its historic papers to Dr. Freeman, not knowing that she was researching and performing music of the Holocaust.
Survivors say that this coincidental encounter is “bashert,” Yiddish for divinely destined. Dr. Freeman feels honored to own the Bausch viola and also feels a deep sense of responsibility for using its “voice” to sing the songs and teach the lessons of the Holocaust.
During an event at the Holocaust Museum called Days of Remembrance, five short films will play April 15-22, from 3-4 p.m. and 4-5 p.m. each day. The films are free with paid admission.