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New HET project will use power of music

The new education programme, devised by the Holocaust Educational Trust, is aimed at students aged 10 to 13

    More than 120 British schools have signed up to an educational initiative based on the experiences of young refugees who came to Britain on the Kindertransport.

    “Stories from Willesden Lane” is based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane about Lisa Jura, a refugee who was forced to flee her home in Vienna at the age of 13 and rebuild her life in London during the Second World War.

    Her story of life in a Willesden orphanage and how she became a concert pianist was written by her daughter Mona Golabek, a musician herself, who turned the book into a one-woman show, The Pianist of Willesden Lane.

    The new education programme, devised by the Holocaust Educational Trust, is aimed at students aged 10 to 13.

    Mrs Golabek said it was a dream come true that her book would be read by 8,000 students.

    As part of the project, they will take part in a live webcast of a Kindertransport refugee’s testimony and performance of The Pianist of Willesden Lane by Mrs Golabek, in June.

    Mrs Golabek,who has brought her mother’s story to over 250,000 school children in the US, said it was always her ambition to bring it back to the city where the story began. She performed at JFS last year.

    “My mother’s music inspired me” she said. “She is the one who taught me music is about telling a story and It has been a dream of mine to tell hers.

    “In profoundly dark times we often turn to the arts for comfort. It brings people to the light in extraordinary ways. The art that came out of the Holocaust is astonishing.”

    Karen Pollock, HET chief executive, said the project was a “thought-provoking and deeply emotive way to educate the next generation about the significance of the Kindertransport.”

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