Grafeneck 10654

Ode to memory and hope​

Helmut Lipsky, violin

Louise Bessette, piano

Olivier Maranda, percussion

“... The expressivity of this music permeated the public and made them shiver to the depths of the soul...”

— Südwest Presse, inaugural concert, Dec. 8 2015

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10654 people with cognitive and physical disabilities were murdered in the first gas chamber of the Holocaust at Castle Grafeneck in Germany in 1940; an experimental project of the Nazi's industrial murder machinery, where the methods used a year and a half later in Auschwitz-Dachau were developed and employed.

This concert pays homage to all of the victims. It seeks to rescue the memories of these people from oblivion, as well as to shed the lucid light of day on these events, to bring this history to our present-day conversation.

The programme, which will be presented again in Grafeneck and in other cities of Germany and Switzerland in October of 2021, recounts the universal and metaphorical story of Castle Grafeneck, which was constructed during the period of the Renaissance, to commemorate the 80 years that have passed since 1940, as well as the 75 years since the liberation of the survivors of the Holocaust. It underlines also the 250th Birthday-Year of Beethoven, whose glorious “Ode to Joy” of his 9th Symphony, based on a poem by Friedrich Schiller, has been transformed by Helmut Lipsky into a Requiem for the victims of genocides committed throughout time all over the world. The concert concludes with the composition “Grafeneck 1940” by Thomas Fortmann, which deals with the incomprehensible events which took place at Castle Grafeneck 80 years ago.

The German artist Jochen Meyder created a commemorative work made up of 10654 sculptures in terracotta. Exhibited at the Grafeneck Memorial Center, images of his work will accompany the concert, which is an emotional and thought-provoking voyage throughout the history of the castle.




“... The expressivity of this music permeated the public and made them shiver to the depths of the soul...”​


—  inaugural concert,

Dec. 8 2015



Excerpts from the world première performance at Grafeneck Castle on Dec. 8th 2015


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