sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2019-02-04 11:09 pm

If I could have crossed, I wouldn't know what I'd have lost

I accept that I didn't know Ben Hecht was Jewish until I read The New Yorker on his recent (and attractive-looking) biography, but I really feel I should have known that during World War II he wrote and organized, with Kurt Weill and Moss Hart, a memorial pageant to the mass-murdered Jews of Europe—a celebration of those who fought and an outcry for the rescue of those still surviving—called We Will Never Die. There's partial audio of the version performed at the Hollywood Bowl on July 21, 1943. That was after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had been incorporated into the script. It's astonishing. It's not a subtle piece of art, but it's not meant to be, and it knows the extermination camps by name; it's open about Jewish resistance in a way I thought had to be reclaimed from the popular reception of the Holocaust, not predated its formation. I had no idea.

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