They had the pleasure and honour of receiving renowned cellist and holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, her son, the famous cellist Raphael Wallfisch as well as her grandson cellist and vocalist Simon Wallfisch and pianist William Vann.
Director of Holocaust Studies at JW3 Trudy Gold chaired the discussion on Anita Lasker-Wallfisch’s personal experience, the perils of totalitarianism and fascism as well as the recent rise of antisemitism in Europe.
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was born in Germany into an assimilated Jewish family. She was only 13 when she had to witness the horrors of the November Pogroms. Over one thousand synagogues were burnt down; Jewish homes, businesses and cemeteries ransacked; and nearly one hundred Jews murdered. After being deported to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and later to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch survived thanks to her extraordinary talent as a cellist.
The cello saved her life, which had a lasting impact on her whole family. But it also greatly influenced her later life when she became a founding member of the English Chamber Orchestra and a renowned cellist in Great Britain.
To honour the exceptional role music has played throughout her life and to recognise how music can convey what cannot be put into words, the in-conversation event was interspersed with various pieces of music performed by Raphael and Simon Wallfisch accompanied by William Vann.
At the event guests had the unique privilege to hear the personal stories of Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, which Ambassador Wittig described as follows:
In order to remember we need to listen, to understand, to ensure these stories are told over and over again.
Especially in times when antisemitism is on the rise again, when concepts such as liberal democracy and the freedom of press are being challenged throughout the world, it is vital to remember. Ambassador Wittig stressed this in his address:
In times like these, remembering and confronting our past must and will remain at the heart of Germany’s future. We will continue to strive to honour and uphold our democratic and liberal principles and values against all threats from within and from without.