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The Laskers from Breslau (Wrocław)

A Family Reunion in Music and Words (in English; with Video Recording)

Cellist and contemporary witness Anita Lasker Wallfisch shared the stage with three generations of her family for the first time.

Marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp on 27 January 1945, they read letters from the family written between 1942 and 1952 and played works by Beethoven, Schubert, Bloch, Ravel, and others.

recording available

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The Old Building is marked in green

Where

Old Building, ground level, Glass Courtyard
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

They told of the loving family home in Breslau (Wrocław) where Goethe was read, French spoken on Sundays, and chamber music evenings were held. The father Dr. Alfons Lasker was a lawyer and was awarded the Iron Cross in the First World War. Mother Edith Lasker was a talented violinist and the three sisters Marianne, Anita, and Renate began music lessons at an early age.

After the Nazis came to power, the oldest sister Marianne was able to escape to England accompanying a children’s transport. In 1942, the parents were deported to the Polish transit ghetto in Izbica and murdered. Following a failed attempt to flee, Anita and her sister Renate were arrested and taken separately to Auschwitz in 1943 and only by chance did they find each other there again.

Anita, Renate and Marianne Lasker with their parents, 1938

Anita, Renate and Marianne Lasker with their parents, 1938; private property

Video recording of the event The Laskers from Breslau (Wrocław) – A Family Reunion in Music and Words from 27 January 2019; Jewish Museum Berlin 2019

As a cellist in the women’s orchestra, Anita managed to save her own and her sister’s life. On 15 April 1945, they were liberated from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by the British. Anita Lasker Wallfisch immigrated to England and co-founded the London English Chamber Orchestra in 1948. She has been associated with the Jewish Museum Berlin for many years. As a contemporary witness, she shares her memories and experiences particularly with young people and works actively against forgetting.

The evening program includes readings from the family archive, contemporary texts, and musical pieces from the Lasker family’s life in Breslau, connecting the generations in one story – from the past through our present and into the future.

Anita Lasker 1938 playing the cello

Anita Lasker, 1938; private property

Photograph of Anita Lasker Wallfisch and Maya Jacobs-Wallfisch

Anita Lasker Wallfisch and Maya Jacobs-Wallfisch; photo: Battina Görlitzer

Program

Intro Anita Lasker Wallfisch, BBC recording from Bergen-Belsen (1945)
Reading from letters by Anita Lasker Wallfisch
Music works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Ernest Bloch, Paul Ben-Haim, Maurice Ravel, J. S. Bach, and Benjamin Wallfisch

Contributors

Anita Lasker Wallfisch – reading
Maya Jacobs-Wallfisch – concept, artistic direction, and reading
Raphael Wallfisch – cello and reading
Elizabeth Wallfisch – violin
Simon Wallfisch – cello, voice, and reading
Michal Lasker Golan – reading
Accompanied by Edward Rushton – piano

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Where, when, what?

  • When Sunday 27 January 2019, 6 pm
  • Where Old Building, ground level, Glass Courtyard

    Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

    See location on map

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