(Vatican Radio) Using the power of music to bring to life the lessons of the past:
that was the goal of a concert performed by the Santa Cecilia Youth Orchestra here
in Rome on Monday night, using over a dozen string instruments that survived the Holocaust
and have been carefully collected and restored by an Israeli violin-maker.
27th marks international Holocaust memorial day, designated by the UN as an occasion
to remember the six million Jews and other victims of the Nazi regime. It commemorates
the day in 1945 when Soviet troops liberated the remaining prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau,
the largest of the Nazi death camps.
At least one of the violins on stage at
Rome’s Auditorium was played as prisoners were hoarded into the gas chambers in Auschwitz,
another was thrown from a train taking Jews to the camps, while others were carried
by Jewish families fleeing abroad and then rediscovered in attics or cellars many
But just how do young people today view that tragic period of
history? And how can music help to bring the past to life? Among those performing
on the restored violins was 14 year old American student Michael Whalen who spoke
with Philippa Hitchen just before the concert: