Before we leave Odessa, we are going to meet the lovely Jenny for breakfast near the stunning Opera house that we visited yesterday. We then have an appointment at the Jewish museum of Odessa where we will meet with the Director and learn more about Jewish life before the war.
Although our documentary does not exclusively focus on anti-Semitism and Jewish people, it is still interesting for us to learn the facts of what life was like for the Jewish people before the war, this then helps understand the scale of the tragedy.
For example before the war, the Jewish population made up 36% of the Odessian population so this only points to how strong Jewish life was before the Holocaust. Despite anti-Semitism (and lots of it) across Eastern Europe, Jewish life did flourish, there were theatre groups and youth movements and community centres both religious and non-religious. It is an interesting question to ask what the world lost by the murder of millions of men,woman and children? What brilliant minds, incredible musicians or amazing artists could have been. This is another side to the Holocaust, not just the attempted destruction of entire groups but wiping out of culture.
Germany before 1933 was (in part) a very liberal, welcoming and accepting culture. It was the centre of gay life in the world. For all of you who have seen the film Cabaret then you will understand what we are talking about and if you haven't seen it, go and check it out. Berlin, in particular had a very relaxed attitude to gay men who helped create and amazing art scene with cabaret shows and music galore.
What did we lose by these creative minds being herded into concentration camps?
For people like us, who are interested in art and culture this is particularly sad. We think about all the great talent that was wasted or was never allowed to be. In our opinion, what elevates human beings above animals is not just our ability to make big machines and build impressive structures but is our ability to create beauty; arts and culture, and it is terribly sad that during the time of the Nazis, beauty was completely stamped upon by ugliness. Life is beautiful. Art is beautiful. Culture is beautiful. The world is full of beauty (both natural and man made), along with hope and love, beauty makes life enjoyable. Music for example is an incredible source of joy for so many people, it makes babies smarter when they hear Mr. Mozart or Mr. Bach in the womb. It is terrible that so much beauty and culture was destroyed during the Holocaust. We think, and we are not experts, but if the education system spent more time teaching art and culture then perhaps we would all enjoy (and take pride in) the word around us a little more.
Our personal fave (to listen to and to perform) by Mr. Mozart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvuKxL4LOqc
The best of the best, Maria Callas singing Casta Diva: