In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) — in partnership with the Omni-American Future Project, American Sephardi Federation, and Jazz Leadership Project — hosted in New York City on Tuesday the “Blues and Resilience” concert, a unique cultural-educational experience featuring live music performed by jazz trumpeter Itamar Borochov’s quartet and brief stories exploring how music was used by Jews to survive World War II and resist the Nazis.
“Music is an act of defiance, a way to heal, a way to rejoice,” Borochov told the audience of more than 200 guests at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.
Holocaust survivor Sami Steigmann — who as a young Romanian-born child was subjected to gruesome medical experiments over three years of internment at a Nazi labor camp with his family — was among those who addressed the gathering.
“Culture was very important,” Steigmann recalled. “It gave people, even in the most dire of situations, hope and the will to fight, not to die.”
Other speakers included Omni-American Future Project co-directors Greg Thomas and Aryeh Tepper, as well as American Sephardi Federation Executive Director Jason Guberman.
Tepper — who lives in the southern Israeli town of Ofakim that was invaded by Hamas terrorists on October 7th — said, “I love music, and I have needed music, almost like water, since I was a young child. After October 7th, however, for two and half weeks I couldn’t bear to hear the sound of music. Any note, a single note, was too sweet. After the fire swept our streets, after the bullets, RPGs, and missiles, there was no music, only silence. So what are we doing here tonight holding a concert for International Holocaust Remembrance Day? As Sami said, music can give us strength, heroic strength. This year, after October 7th, we feel the Holocaust differently. It’s more than painful history. On October 7th, we too saw evil face-to-face.”
In remarks at the evening’s conclusion, CAM CEO Sacha Roytman said, “What we have seen today is a message to the world — a message of harmony. Each one of the musicians today, they can have a different color, and different instruments, and only when they come together can they create harmony. Our message to the world is when things come together, we can create harmony. Our work, with Greg, Aryeh, and Jason, is to bring jazz as a healing power to the world.”
All proceeds from ticket sales for Tuesday’s concert are being donated to Artist 4 Israel’s “Righteous Among the Nations” Global Mural Project, which is supported by CAM. The latest “Righteous Among the Nations” mural — honoring the late Werner Krumme — was unveiled in Dortmund, Germany, last week.
Watch the full broadcast of the “Blues and Resilience” concert here:
79 years have passed since the liberation of Auschwitz, and in the face of a growing wave of anti-Jewish hate worldwide, we’re reminded of the profound significance of culture in instilling hope.
“Music is an act of defiance, a way to heal, a way to rejoice,” said renowned… pic.twitter.com/KYFAfqgs9P
— Combat Antisemitism Movement (@CombatASemitism) February 1, 2024