Music and Memoirs: Artistic Responses to the Holocaust

Date: 5/24/2023 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Location: Longmont Library
409 Fourth Ave.
Longmont, Colorado 80501

Michael Udow

Longmont composer, Michael Udow, will describe the development of his opera, “A Wall of Two,” and will share a video of musical excerpts. The opera is based on the Holocaust survival story of sisters Henia and Ilona Karmel.

Udow will be joined by psychologist and author Joy Wolfe Ensor, the daughter and niece of Henia and Ilona, who will describe and read from the anthology, “The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust,” of which she is co-editor and a contributing author. Ensor’s chapter, One Day the World Will Be the World Again, focuses heavily on the Karmel sisters’ literary careers, the intergenerational legacy of writing in her family, and the power of creative writing as a force for healing and resilience after trauma.

Joy Wolfe Ensor

A Q&A discussion, and an opportunity to purchase Ensor’s book, will follow the presentation.

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More about the Karmel sisters

Kraków-born sisters Henia and Ilona Karmel were still in their teens when the Nazis invaded Poland and their world as they knew it ended. They survived Buchenwald and other slave labor camps during the Holocaust. During their enslavement, the sisters wrote poetry on forbidden scraps of paper and hid them in the linings of their dresses. Following their liberation by the Allied forces, the sisters emigrated first to Sweden and then to New York, where they both continued to write and publish short stories and novels in English. Eventually, Ilona received a professorship at MIT, where she taught writing and literature; the Institute named the Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes in her honor. The University of California Press, Berkeley, published the English translation of the sisters’ internment camp poems under the title “A Wall of Two: Poems of Resistance and Suffering from Krakow to Buchenwald and Beyond” — the volume that inspired Udow’s opera.

About Staff

They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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