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.

Participation
Please access the following link and register according to the instructions in order to join the
webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nQ_v_cRARzWKttUDKwVT9Q.
Background

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.”

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