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The Israeli singer Nizza Thobi in concert at Stegen:
Songs Against Forgetting

STEGEN. - "Man´s struggle against power is memory´s struggle aganist amnesia."

The Israeli singer Nizza Thobi has taken up this fight , dedicating her life to it. Born at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, she has lived for the past 25 years in Munich – the city , that is, where Hitler´s political career began, and where, during the 1972 Olympic Games, Israeli sportsmen were targeted by an Arab terror attack.

On Saturday evening at the Old Brewery, Thobi gave a moving concert against forgetting. Her first record – mir leben ejbig –(forever we live) – came out as long ago as 1982. A collection of songs about the Jewish struggle for survival, it recalled the Shoah: the systematic expulsion and extermination of Jews during the Second World War. The songs, and poems set to music, predominantly Yiddisch, were in many cases written by people who themselves perished in the Holocaust – in Vilna, Lithuania, for example, where from 1941-1944 some 75,000 Jews were deported and murdered. In Yam Lied ( Yam Song ) Nizza Thobi sings, "I left behind those dearest to me / I left my house / I entrusted myself to the sea / Carry me, sea, to my mother‘s bosom."

Slides projected behind the singer commemorated those who wrote such lines. And Nizza Thobi´s deep, powerful voice lent its compelling testimony - to the woman cradling a child bereft of its mother, to hopes of spring, a potent metaphor here for survival; "Frilng ojf dajne fligl bloje / O nem majn Harz mit / Un gib es zu majn glik" ("Spring, on your blue wings, /O take my heart with you / And give it to my happiness").

In the second part of the concert the link to present-day Israel was set up. " I was born in the silk shirt of my mother tongues," she annocunced and sang, radiating joie de vivre. Her homeland she finds best expressed in settings to music of Hebrew poems by the Israelis poet Rachel who, in the Sea of Galilee, saw " the shape of a violin". The 52-year-old singer recalled her own childhood with a Ladino melody – Nani, Nani- a lullaby in the Spanish dialect of the Sephardic Jews.

The outstanding acoustic guitarist, Andreas Seifinger, accompanied the singer ...

Thomas Lochte
Monday 26.April 1999 Süddeutsche Zeitung
Art. in German:
Lieder gegen das Vergessen

 


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