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On 14 January, the Institute’s lecturer in Yiddish folklore, Dr. Marija Krupoves-Berg, visited the Platte Clove Community in the Catskills in upstate New York. She was invited by members of this remarkable Christian community to teach children songs of the Vilna Ghetto and to take part in an evening commemorating the Vilna Ghetto. The event was also attended by members of the local Jewish community from nearby Hunter, New York.
The members of the Platte Clove community are descendants of a group of people who opposed Hitler’s regime in the1930’s. Driven out of Germany by Nazi police, they fled to England. But when war broke out, they became enemy aliens and were not trusted in Britain, and had to flee again. The only country that was ready to accept them was Paraguay. After years of struggling in the Paraguayan jungles they were able to move to upstate New York in the1950s, where they have lived ever since.
Dr. Marija Krupoves was put in contact with the community by Dr. Michael Good, the son of a Holocaust survivor from Vilna who was saved by the German military official Karl Plagge. Dr. Good is the author of The Search for Major Plagge: The Nazi who Saved Jews (expanded edition, Fordham University Press, 2006).
Marija conducted several sessions with school children, teaching them some history about the Holocaust, and the Ghetto songs in Yiddish. During the evening’s event, she spoke about spiritual resistance in the Vilna Ghetto. The children sang “Vilne” and other songs in English and Yiddish. Marija reports that “It was very moving to watch the children —some of whom are descendants of ‘righteous people’ from Germany — singing the Ghetto songs in Yiddish.
|2005 VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE. Solution: Neosymmetria|