Remembrance and Beyond: Commemorating the Holocaust – Part 5

P1020383 Annecy, the Club Room
P1020384 Annecy, the Club RoomTuesday, January 28th – the culmination of our journey. We were supposed to set out for Geneva from our hotel in Sévrier (0verlooking Lake Annecy) at 10 a.m. Unfortunately, there was no bus. It was never all that clear what happened but apparently, there was supposed to be a new driver only he didn’t know the way, so the first driver had gone to collect him. Nobody knew exactly when we would be setting out. The departure time was set back several times and, because we had no idea when we would be setting out, we could not go far but had to spend the time exploring the hotel grounds – or the bar.

 

This was the same hotel we had stayed in three years previously, but the view of the snow-capped mountain peaks, the sparkling blue of Lake Annecy and the green of the hotel grounds was as fresh and uplifting as ever.

P1020364 Annecy, view from my hotel window

 

 

 

 

P1020367 Annecy, grounds of the Hotel P1020368 Annecy, grounds of the Hotel

 

 

 

 

P1020380 Annecy, grounds of the Hotel

P1020373 Annecy, grounds of the Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

P1020405 View in the hotel grounds, Annecy P1020406 View from the hotel grounds, Annecy

In short, the location and setting are a photographer’s dream! Even the pebbles in the car park presented photo opportunities for the enterprising cameraman or woman. For example – can you find the face hidden here among the stones?

P1020381 Annecy, grounds of the Hotel

 

Or spot the mysterious hamsa amulet? (I’ve given you a bit of help here ;-)  ). P1020408 Stones in the hotel grounds, Annecy

 

 

 

 

 

The bus – and its driver – returned, eventually, round about noon and we set off for Geneva, arriving at the Palais des Nations barely in time to have a mediocre, lukewarm lunch in the cafeteria, which – be warned – accepts Euros but only gives change in Swiss Francs which are useless anywhere but in Switzerland. So, if you must pay in Euros, it’s advisable to pay with the lowest common denomination of banknotes. If you pay with, say a hundred Euro note and then realise you could have paid with a smaller bill, thus avoiding being forced to “convert” a large sum into Swiss Francs, they won’t let you change your mind and pay with the lower denomination.

Lunch was a hurried affair, as we had to cram in another orchestra rehearsal before the concert – which, with the clockwork precision to be expected of the Swiss, began at precisely 5 p.m. The entire ceremony can be viewed here and included the moving testimony of Helga Pollak-Kinsky, whose diary from the Theresienstadt Ghetto formed the basis of the exhibition “The Girls of Room 28″, dedicated to the memory of the children of Theresienstadt.

Israeli Jews and Germans singing together from the depths of the heart – this is our answer to the haters and those who would sow discord. Perhaps the most symbolic of all was the young generation of Zamirchor, the Zamirsternchen, singing in Hebrew and Yiddish at the reception which followed the concert – culminating in a spontaneous performance, by all three choirs, (and, I suspect, not a few guests) of “Eli, Eli”:

 

 

After that, it was back to the hotel for supper and a farewell party.

The next day, after emotional farewells, and last-minute photos, we set off our separate ways – the Zamirchor travelling by bus back to Bayreuth (an eleven hour ride), the Tivon Chamber Choir back to Israel via Istanbul and the Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir back home via Frankfurt.

P1020412 Group photo in the hotel grounds, Annecy

 

Although there are  no plans for us to take part in the Dry Bones Project next year, we are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with our old friends from Bayreuth and our new friends from Tivon.

 

About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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2 Responses to Remembrance and Beyond: Commemorating the Holocaust – Part 5

  1. “there was supposed to be a new driver only he didn’t know the way, so the first driver had gone to collect him.”

    It doesn’t sound like the efficiency of a Swiss clock. In fact it sounds like the planning was full of holes – like a Swiss CHEESE.

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