New York Students learn about Holocaust through Lisa Jura's story
On Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day on the Hebrew Calendar), the students were told the story of a young Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis on the Kinderstransport.
On 26 April, more than 450 middle and high school students attended a presentation, “The Children of Willesden Lane”, at New York Headquarters. Through visuals, music, and voice, pianist Mona Golabek captivated the students as she recounted the journey of her mother, Lisa Jura.
Over 450 students at “The Children of Willesden Lane” at New York Headquarters.(UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)
Lisa was the same age as most of the students attending the event when she escaped the Nazis as one of 9,000 to 10,000 children rescued by the British Government on the Kinderstransport.
After the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938 (a Nazi-government organised campaign of violence against Jewish people in Germany and territory annexed by Germany) the British Government allowed an unspecified number of children to enter Great Britain as unaccompanied refugees on temporary travel visas.
The Kindertransport was considered to be a temporary measure and the refugee children were expected to return to their families once the “crisis” was over. Most of the children were Jewish: most would never again see their families, murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust.
Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN Jan Kickert spoke of his close connection to Lisa’s story. He had grown up in the same quarter of Vienna as Lisa and had taken the same tram that Lisa took for her piano lessons before the Nazis destroyed that part of her childhood. Ambassador Kickert urged the students to learn from the history of the Holocaust and to remain vigilant against prejudice.
Music was a refuge for Lisa, a connection back to the family and life she had left behind in Vienna. The event illustrated how Lisa’s music remains a bridge between the past and the present as Ms. Golabek seamlessly interwove into the telling of Lisa’s story the very music that Lisa had played that had sustained her as a young refugee.
Kimberly Mann, Chief, Education Outreach Section, encouraged the students to make refugees in their schools and communities feel welcome. The event, held on the occasion of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day on the Hebrew Calendar), gave a human face and voice to the victims of the Holocaust and inspired students to achieve their dreams.
It was organised by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Austria, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the New York City Department of Education, Facing History and Ourselves and the Hold onto Your Music Foundation.
Mona Golabek, Renee Harleston, Kimberly Mann, Arianna Fleur Kronreif, Jan Kickert (UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)
Welcoming remarks by Ms. Kimberly Mann,
Chief of the Education Outreach Section,
the United Nations Department of Public Information
Opening Statement by H.E. Mr. Jan Kickert, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations