In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on January 27th, I’ll be playing a powerful song on this week’s radio program from the new album ‘Silent Tears: The Last Yiddish Tango’ by Payadora Tango Ensemble along with guest artists, including vocalists from across the globe – Olga Avigail Mieleszczuk (Israel,) Marta Kosiorek (Poland,) Lenka Lichtenberg (Toronto,) and Aviva Chernick (Toronto.) It’s an incredibly moving work of musical art.

As notes on the Payadora website state: “The music of ‘Silent Tears’ is based on poems, testimonies, and writings of women who were victims of sexual violence and torture during the Holocaust. Some songs are from a project led by Dr. Paula David, a social worker at a Toronto Jewish care home who helped survivors process their trauma by writing collective poetry. Others are from Molly Applebaum, a Toronto-based author, who, during her adolescent years, was buried underground in a small wooden box in a barn in Poland during the war. Set to music by an award-winning team of musicians, the songs on the album tell the story of unimaginable violence as experienced by women and children during the Nazi occupation of Poland.”

To introduce the song “Silent Tears” – which begins the second half of the program – you’ll hear Dr. Paula David speaking about the Baycrest Holocaust Survivor Poetry Project, and violinist Rebekah Wolkstein, the composer of the song’s music.

Many thanks to the album’s Executive Producer Dan Rosenberg for providing the spoken word introductions to the song and to Six Degrees Records for distributing this important musical document. The project was made possible with the generous support of Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto’s Workmen’s Circle Foundation, with additional support for outreach by Toronto’s Committee for Yiddish and the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

You can read in-depth notes about the album and its creation, and watch videos of some of the songs, at the Payadora Tango Ensemble website:

Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center