Samford University will host a series of Holocaust Remembrance events April 29-May 1 in collaboration with the Birmingham Jewish Federation and Holocaust Education Committee. The public is invited to any of the events free of charge.
A centerpiece of the three-day program will be a memorial concert and community commemoration service Wednesday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Brock Recital Hall.
The event will feature music composed in concentration camps as well as contemporary musical responses to the Holocaust. Performers are Samford pianist Dr. Kathryn Fouse, cellist Avi Friedlander, cantors Jessica Roskin of Temple Emanu-El and Daniel Gale of Temple Beth-El, and Samford performing arts dean Dr. Joseph Hopkins, baritone.
A candle lighting service will honor the six million Jews and the five million Gentiles who perished in the Holocaust. Participants will be Holocaust survivors and family members, and members of the Samford faculty and administration.
The series opens April 29 with a forum, "The Righteous Gentile: Thou Shall Not Stand Idly By the Blood of Thy Neighbor," at 7:30 p.m. in Brock Recital Hall.
Panelists are Holocaust survivors Max Herzel and Ingrid K. Roskin, theologian Johannes Schwanke, and Samford faculty members Dr. Brad Creed and Dr. Kenneth Roxburgh.
Schwanke, who teaches on the Protestant theology faculty at University of Tubingen, Germany, will also lecture on German theologian and Resistance participant Dietrich Bonhoeffer at 11 a.m. on April 29 in Hodges Chapel. The program is part of the Walking with the Saints series presented by Samford's Beeson Divinity School.
Birmingham Jewish community survivor Riva Hirsch will share her story and experiences as a child during the Holocaust in a convocation on Thursday, May 1, at 10 a.m. in Reid Chapel.
The series concludes May 1 with a performance by the Meitav vocal ensemble at 2 p.m. in Brock Recital Hall. The group of 13 teens from Rosh Ha'ayin, Birmingham's sister city in Israel, will perform music written in memory of those who died in the Holocaust. The ensemble is performing at various sites in Birmingham and New Orleans during its U.S. visit.
An exhibit of Holocaust-themed artwork will be on display in Brock Recital Hall lobby throughout the series.
The event came about from a musical collaboration last year between cantor Gale and Samford's Fouse. Plans for a single recital soon grew into this year's series of events aimed at promoting dialogue and discussion on Christian's response to the Holocaust and present responsibility.
"Religious and political differences are diminished when you begin making music together," explains Fouse. "Music transcends barriers, leading to discussion and collaboration."