Ute Lemper Performs "Songs for Eternity" in Honor of Holocaust Remembrance
Enlarge image Through her performance "Songs for Eternity", Ute Lemper preserves memories of the Holocaust. (© www.Germany.info / Nicole Glass) On a warm February evening in Washington, D.C., songs from the Holocaust echoed through the rooms of the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, taking listeners on a trip to the ghettos and concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Ute Lemper, a German singer based in New York, performed “Songs for Eternity”, a collection of works from the Holocaust. Her February 8 performance, which was sponsored by the German Embassy, honored Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Nearly 400 people attended the concert, seven of which were Holocaust survivors. During the 90-minute program, Lemper sang songs in Yiddish and German. Between songs, the 53-year-old cabaret singer also told stories from inside the camps, failing to hide her own emotions as she too shed a few tears during her performance.
Enlarge image Dr. Stefan Buchwald, director of the German Embassy's German Information Center, introduces Ute Lemper and provides welcoming remarks. (© www.Germany.info / Nicole Glass) “Germany is profoundly aware of the historic responsibility it bears towards the Jewish community and the state of Israel as a result of the crimes of the Nazi regime,” said Stefan Buchwald, Director of the Embassy’s German Information Center, in an opening statement at the event. “This responsibility, a cornerstone of German policy, requires remembrance, reconciliation and ongoing vigilance – now and in the future. This is why we are extremely happy that Ute Lemper has agreed to perform her latest and very special program here for you tonight.”
Lemper’s “Songs for Eternity” preserve memories of the Holocaust, which are filled with both sadness and hope. Many of the songs were collected and preserved by Italian pianist and musicologist Francesco Lotoro, who has obtained a collection of over 17,000 scores written between 1942 and 1944. Lemper says she is particularly inspired by a 1948 song collection by Vevel Pasternak and a songbook by Ilse Weber, a woman who did not survive the Holocaust but whose husband published her songs in the 1990s, many decades after he survived Ausschwitz.
Enlarge image Ute Lemper has made it a personal mission to honor the Jewish culture and stimulate dialogue about the past through her performances. (© www.Germany.info / Nicole Glass) Overwhelmed by the stories behind the songs written during the Holocaust, Lemper has made it a personal mission to honor the Jewish culture and stimulate dialogue about the past. She is a German native, but is married to an American Jew and has been living in New York for the past 20 years. She performs “Songs for Eternity” together with German-born pianist Werner “Vana” Gierig, Argentinian bandoneon player Victor Villena, American violinist Daniel Hoffman and French contrabass player Romain Lecuyer.
By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany