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Southampton Music Students return from Berlin for World War II commemorative exchange project

Southampton Music Students return from Berlin for World War II commemorative exchange project

10 Southampton Music Hub students have returned to the UK after spending 5 days in Berlin for the final part of their UK-Germany musical exchange project. Working together with pupils from the Anne Frank Gymnasium – Berlin, the Southampton students took part in the six month project that included two residentials and four performances of the specially commissioned musical “Who Writes History?” by Annemarie Hoff. The musical, tells the story of three Jewish children escaping Nazi Germany on the 1938-39 “Kindertransport”, a period in which 10,000 Jewish refugee children fled without their parents from Germany to England. Before travelling to Germany, the ensembles performed a first run of the musical to a packed audience at Burley Village Hall. This was followed by the musical’s premiere at St Anne’s School, Southampton, to an audience of over 300. Special guests were Walter and Herta Kammerling, both survivors of the Holocaust having been rescued by the Kindertransport. At the end of the performance Walter addressed the audience and performers involved in the project, telling his own personal story of escape and survival. While reflecting on and performing the musical at home presented the students with a musical challenge, taking the play to Berlin put the theme into a highly challenging context. As well as performing the Kindertransport musical to two highly appreciative audiences, they heard talks by the Chair of the Jewish Forum, Levi Salomon, and further eye-witness of the Kindertransport, Brie Rosenthal, discovering how painful this part of history still is for the citizens of Berlin today. The exchange project was supported by the UK-German Connection, the WISTA and the Axel Springer Foundation.

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