Daily Israel Report

Holocaust Kaddish Composition Premieres at Yad Vashem

Dr. Lawrence Siegel's "Kaddish - I Am Here", a musical composition based on testimonies of Holocaust survivors, premiered in Israel.
By Elad Benari & Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 9/12/2011, 2:18 AM

Kadish at Yad Vashem
Kadish at Yad Vashem
Hezki Ezra

A special concert was held last week at the Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem. The concert featured the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra - IBA conducted by Gil Shohat, soloists from the U.S. and from the Israeli Vocal Ensemble Choir, conducted by Yuval Ben-Ozer.

The featured piece was "Kaddish - I Am Here" by Dr. Lawrence Siegel. The piece is a unique creation which tells the stories of Holocaust survivors to music. The first part describes the social and cultural life of Jews in Europe before the Holocaust. The second part presents personal stories of Holocaust survivors, and the piece concludes by describing the resiliency of the Holocaust survivors.

"Kaddish - I Am Here" premiered in the United States three years ago and played several times there. The concert at Yad Vashem was its Israeli premiere.

"I worked for 25 years to adapt testimonies and create songs out of them," Dr. Siegel told Arutz Sheva. "I felt that I could do a really good job taking the words of survivors and turning them into vignettes about their lives before, during, and after the Holocaust."

Siegel spoke of his tremendous pride to be in Israel to see his special piece premiere there. Bringing the "Kaddish - I Am Here" to Israel was a special project that was almost a year in the making.

"It was a tremendous team effort and I'm very, very impressed with the level of professionalism,” he said.

Siegel added that there has been interest all over the world in his composition, including in places like China.

"We are very interested in bringing it to Central Europe, to Poland and Russia," he said. "To actually bring it to the sites like Auschwitz, like Babi Yar. There has been some exploration among people in Israel. That, I think, would be a tremendous experience for everyone."