Presentation highlight of Holocaust Awareness Weeks

Multimedia performance on what Nazis deemed "degenerate" culture | May 25, 2004

Xavier faculty, administration and students are participating in the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education presentation of “Forbidden Sights and Sounds: Nazi Suppression of Art and Culture.”

This original multimedia performance, taking place Sunday, June 6, at 4:00 p.m. at the Cincinnati Art Museum, is the highlight of Holocaust Awareness Weeks 2004: Facing Prejudice. The program combines music, theatrical readings and a visual backdrop of art banned during the racist regime of Nazi Germany.

The museum, in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati–College Conservatory of Music and Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion's Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, developed the idea to create awareness of the destructive artistic blacklists and to inspire vigilance for protection of all people in the arts.

The center gathered talent from Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati to research the actions of cultural centers—from concert halls, publishing houses and museums to art schools, music stores and radio stations—to document the highly successful anti-Semitic campaign that targeted "non-European" influence and impact.

“This is an exciting idea,” said Alexandra Korros, director of University scholars, who served on the event’s committee. “The event points out paintings in the Cincinnati Art Museum that wouldn’t exist had Hitler been successful.” She said that a number of Xavier history majors worked with the center for class credit, contributing to both writing and research. “As a historian, I think this was a unique opportunity for majors to apply what they’ve learned to a business setting,” she said.

Faculty and associates from the music school, accompanied by narration from various arts and media personalities, including University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., perform “Forbidden Sights and Sounds.”

The program features what the Nazis labeled as "degenerate music," including the works of Arnold Schoenberg, Karol Rathaus, Kurt Weill and Felix Mendelssohn, along with popular jazz musicians.

Henry Meyer, Auschwitz survivor and former member of the La Salle Quartet, will make a special appearance. Recently inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame, Meyer will discuss his years as a teenage prodigy in the Jewish Kulturbund, a unique creative island created by the banished Jewish musical talents in Germany who were waiting for visas or deliverance from the Nazi oppression.

A reception in the Grand Hall follows the concert with an opportunity to meet the guest artists and performers. Tickets for the concert and reception are $20 per person, $10 for students. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the center at 513 221-1875 ext. 355.