Beyond All Memories – The Semer Ensemble and the Rescued Treasure of Jewish Musical Life in Nazi Berlin

November 9, 2020 marks the 82nd remembrance day of the German Reichspogromnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”).

Together with Liberation75, the German Embassy and Consulates want to remember this night in 1938 and reflect on its significance and lessons today. The Webinar tells this story: “Beyond All Memories – The Semer Ensemble and the Rescued Treasure of Jewish Musical Life in
Nazi Berlin”

A short film preview and ensuing discussion will showcase newly interpreted music originally recorded by Jewish musicians in 1930’s Berlin).

Date: Monday, November 9th at 2 pm (Eastern Standard Time).
Moderated by Laila Biali, singer and CBC Radio 2 presenter; Ben Wittman, percussionist, composer.
Participants: Dr. Alan Bern, director of the Semer Ensemble, Dr. Rainer Lotz, music historian and discographer, and Sasha Lurje, singer in the Semer Ensemble. Greetings by Marilyn Sinclair, Director of Liberation 75 and the German Ambassadors in the United States and in Canada.

Please access the following link and register according to the instructions in order to join the

The stage show Semer Reloaded features music from the Golden Age of Jewish Music, songs of love and jealousy, dreams and daily life. The music, originally composed and performed by Jewish musicians in 1930’s Berlin, was recorded by Hirsch Lewin through his label ‘Semer.’ Originally the
owner of a Hebrew bookstore in Berlin, Lewin began recording and collecting music by Jewish artists after founding his label in 1932. Lewin was able to create thousands of recordings and produce
hundreds of records. The Semer label defiantly recorded even as the Nazi oppression of Jewish cultural life continuously increased.

Lewin’s important work was violently stopped by the Nazi’s during the Reichspogromnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”) on November 9th, 1938.
His label destroyed, the collection was then forgotten for decades, only to be recovered by Dr. Rainer Lotz, a German music historian, in the 1990s. Lotz travelled the world for years, managing to find all of the original records.
The Jewish Museum in Berlin tasked Dr. Alan Bern, a renowned musician and composer, with the evaluation of the musical collection. He found treasures. Ever since, Dr. Bern has gone on to reinterpret and perform the music with the ensemble of outstanding musicians that he united, most of them living in Berlin. The Semer Ensemble brings to the German capital and the world a remarkable cultural heritage that was long lost and has been rescued, a story beautifully captured in Christoph Weinert’s short film, “Beyond All Memories – The Semer Ensemble and the Rescued Treasure of
Jewish Musical Life in Nazi Berlin.”

McGill IBD Research Group proceeds with Zoom fundraiser featuring mentalist Oz Pearlman

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the show must go on and  The McGill IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Research Group will indeed hold its annual  “Laugh Your Butt Off” fundraising event  – this year dubbed “Laugh Your Butt Off (At Home!)” on Thursday, November 12 via Zoom, featuring international entertainer and mentalist Oz Pearlman.

Oz Pearlman

The evening will also serve as a tribute to the late Dr. Ernest Seidman, the renowned gastroenterologist who was a Professor of Medicine & Pediatrics, Canada Research Chair in Immune Mediated Gastrointestinal Disorders and the Bruce Kaufman Endowed Chair in IBD at McGill. He passed away shortly after last year’s fundraiser, after havingimproved the lives of thousands of patients in his 40-year career.

Back by popular demand, Oz Pearlman has been reading the minds of America’s Got Talent judges, audiences everywhere, and now Zoom viewers. In addition to a 45-minute show, Oz will be doing eight private meet-and-greets with some lucky sponsors.

“These last few months have been uneasy for everyone and one could have never predicted how our world has been shaken,” said Lorne Mayers, chairman of the McGill IBD Research Group. “With all this uncertainty, and emphasis on social distancing, this time has also proven to be one where people have managed to come together for support and comfort, showing resiliency and strength.”

Dr. Ernest Seidman

The McGill IBD Research Group, with its dedicated IBD clinics at the Montreal General, Jewish General, and the Montreal Children’s, was no exception. The clinical team, comprised of the doctors, nurses, and psychologists, quickly established themselves to provide exceptional care through telemedicine, 24/7 email accessibility, online educational sessions for both patients and their families, as well as a rapid-access clinic that remained open during the pandemic. The research team also continued their academic and research trials in both the adult and pediatric populations. “While the world may have been experiencing the unexpected, those with IBD were able to rely upon us to fulfil our mandate to provide expert medical care, services, and resources to those affected,” said Dr. Peter Lakatos, who has tried to fill part of the void left by Dr. Seidman’s passing.

Sponsorships are still available.  

About Oz Pearlman

Dazzling audiences with his unique mind-reading ability for over a decade, Israeli-born Oz Pearlman is a world-class entertainer and one of the busiest mentalists in the country. A top three finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2015, Oz has also appeared on a variety of both national and international networks, including NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Kelly and Ryan, The Today Show.

Watch him her on America’s Got Talent.

About The McGill IBD Research Group

The McGill IBD Research Group was established in 1992 by concerned members of the community to ensure financial support for IBD clinics at McGill University’s teaching hospitals. Its mandate is to continue to provide important services for those living with IBD, as well as their friends and family, with the overall goal of improving quality of life and preventing complications. Services include accessible, state of the art patient-centered care provided by multidisciplinary teams; clinical research on the genetic and environmental causes of IBD, novel, non-invasive diagnostic methods, the most up to date therapies in both the adult and pediatric populations; training the next generation of IBD clinicians and scientists; and  raising awareness about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis through patient education and community outreach programs.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available online at or by calling 514-594-0614. The cost is $500 per device.