Remembrance & Reconciliation

The German Embassy in Ottawa has endorsed this concert on November 4 in Toronto for Holocaust Education Week in conjunction with concerts initiated and sponsored by the German Embassy November 10 and 12 in Ottawa and Montreal, in memory of the late George Brady and the children of Terezin.

November 4, at 7:30 p.m.
Trinity-St. Pauls Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts
427 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7

Holocaust Education Week

A performance by the Schulich Singers, Jean-Sbastien Valle, conductor.

ITTAI SHAPIRA The Ethics (2015), for violin, piano, percussion, and chorus; a contemporary response to the opera Brundibr, performed by the children in Terezin. Featuring Israeli-American violinist/composer Ittai Shapira, and German pianist and curator Constanze Beckmann.

MICHAEL SPIROFF Panikhida: Vechnaya Pamyat (Requiem: Memory Eternal) (Premiere)
With readings from VEDEM by the boys of the Republic of kid, and memoires of the late George Brady, a survivor of Terezin.
This program is presented in cooperation with the German Embassy and the Consulate General of Germany in Toronto.

There will be a reception after the concert.


November 10, at 7:30 p.m.
Dominion Chalmers United Church
355 Cooper St, Ottawa, ON K2P 0G8, Canada

November 12, 7:30 p.m.
Pollack Hall, McGill University
Strathcona Music Building, 555 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E3

October 31, at 12:00 p.m.
Canadian Opera Company
145 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario

ITTAI SHAPIRA, The Ethics, performed by a vocal quartet, for the COC Free Concerts Vocal/Chamber Music Series.

The Ethics by Ittai Shapira
The Ethics, for violin, piano, percussion, and chorus, was premiered by violinist and composer Ittai Shapira on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Theresienstadt concentration camp and was written as a modern day response to Brundibr, an opera by Hans Krsa performed by the children of the camp. The piece explores this dark chapter in history by honoring the children who did not survive, exploring what their lives could have been, and celebrating the resilience and courage of those who survived. Thus, the piece starts and ends with a Spinoza Quote: “If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past”.

Brundibar is a children’s opera by Hans Krasa, which was performed in the concentration camp Theresienstadt. The work is inspired by Ela Weisberger in memory of Eva Sachs and the Brundibar children. Ela Weisberger played the role of the cat in the children’s opera even in Theresienstadt. The opera was performed by children in camp Theresienstadt 55 times. Despite the painful situation, the game still gave the participating children a piece of vitality and a feeling of hope and strength. Again and again the roles had to be filled anew, because the actors were deported to extermination camps as in the end Hans Krasa himself and almost all participants. Synopsis: Pepicek and Aninka, two poor siblings, want to get their ill mother the milk prescribed by the doctor, in vain – they have no money. The milkman rejects her. The children watch the organ grinder Brundibar – how he earns money with his music. They decide to do it the same way by reciting their songs in the marketplace. However nobody is listening to them. Brundibar, scoffing at the competition, can easily expel the children. The children fall exhausted to sleep. You see a sparrow, a cat and a dog. The animals come to the aid of the children, who alone are too weak against the mighty Brundibar. The next morning, the three animals drumming together all the kids from the neighborhood. Together they drive Brundibar. When the children sing again the favorite song of Pepicek and Aninka, enough money for the milk comes together. Brundibar tries in vain to steal the merit of the children. Together with the animals they are strong enough to finally overcome Brundibar. The finale of the piece appeals to the unconditional holding together of friendship.

The premiere of “The Ethics” took place on May 14, 2015 in Carnegie Hall on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

Program notes by Natasha Zaretsky: The Ethics: premiere May 14 2015, Carnegie Hall
with a special thanks to Humanity in Action” , in association with Sound Potential, Inc.

Humanity in Action, Interview with Ittai Shapira and Daniel Libeskind:

For more information about Ittai Shapira, please go to:

Michael Sprioff composer in residence at McGill University

Michael Spiroff is a composer from Toronto currently based in Montral. He is currently studying with Brian Cherney at McGill University as a M.Mus candidate.

Vechnaya Pamyat by Michael Spiroff
Vechnaya Pamyat for chorus is a setting of the Old Church Slavonic text that comes from the end of the funeral service in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

For more information about Michael Spiroff, please go to:

The Readings:
The focus will be on the story of the boys from Theresienstadt, the Republic Skid created by them; the event will be dedicated to the memory of George Brady.

In the Theresienstadt ghetto there was a group of about 40 boys aged between 13 and 15 who, under the guidance of a gifted teacher named Valtr, founded the imaginary Republic of kid. In the midst of a concentration camp the boys built a state that was democratic and respected human rights. The democratic government of the republic Skid had its own chairman and council, there were parliamentary sessions in which the ideals and needs of the boys were discussed. The magazine VEDEM was the newspaper of the Republic and a real bulletin. It was hidden and survived the Holocaust. The teacher Valtr and many of the boys did not: most died in concentration camps and on death marches.

One of the boys who survived was George Brady.

George Brady was liberated in Auschwitz; after the war he emigrated to Canada, founded a family and became a successful businessman in Toronto. He never spoke about the Holocaust until a Japanese teacher, who researched individual stories of young people in Auschwitz, spoke to him about his sister Hana who had been murdered there. Together with this teacher, George Brady, by then 70 years of age, began to teach about the Holocaust. His story and that of his sister was described in the book “Hana’s Suitcase”. The book is now on the curriculum of schools in many countries. During the last 20 years of his life, George Brady became a famous advocate for Holocaust remembrance and reconciliation between Germans and Jews. He was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He died this year at the age of 91.