Concert featuring grandmother’s concentration camp poems makes Quebec premiere

By News Staff

Shortly after her mother passed away, Canadian composer Lenka Lichtenberg made a discovery.

Lichtenberg, who grew up in Toronto, came across old notebooks that once belonged to her grandmother Anna Hana Friesová.

Flipping through them, she found they were filled with poems her grandmother wrote between 1940-1945.

Friesová, who was a well-educated artist from an assimilated Czech family, wrote the poems before and during her incarceration in the Theresienstadt concentration camp – in current day Czech Republic.

Lichtenberg says she was blown away by the poems – their vocabulary, raw honesty and powerful words.

The composer turned her grandmother’s words into music; the critically acclaimed album “Thieves of Dreams” was released last year. It was recently nominated for a Juno Award for global music album of the year.

Those songs will be performed in Quebec this week for the very first time.

The performance of “Thieves of Dreams: Songs of Theresienstadt’s Secret Poetess” will take place Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Dorshei Emet in Hampstead.

Lichtenberg herself sings, plays keyboard and harmonium.

The “multi-media theatrical concert” is presented by Dorshei Emet and The Montreal Holocaust Museum.

Anyone wishing to attend the performance, or for more information, can visit the Dorshei Emet website.

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