School students in Birmingham are learning about a Jewish musical prodigy from the Holocaust. Over a thousand young people throughout Birmingham are reading “The Children of Willesden Lane” by Grammy-nominated pianist Mona Golabek. It’s about Golabek’s mother. She was a 14 year old piano player in Vienna whose dreams of being a concert pianist were interrupted by World War II. Ann Mollengarden is education coordinator for the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center. She says stories about the Holocaust resonate for kids.
Ann Mollengarden: “A lot of the stories that are written are written by people that were young at the time and they are experiencing the same thing that everyone else is experiencing: their life changing around them, and their world being turned upside down, and the family relationships and getting along with parents and not getting along with parents, and separation. They’re adolescent issues that kids relate to. They cannot believe that all of this happened. They cannot imagine a world where this could happen, which on one hand is a good thing that they can’t imagine it. But this is real and it’s still going on today in various shapes and forms.”
A free community performance for Holocaust Remembrance Day is Wednesday, April 23rd at Samford University’s Brock Recital Hall at 7:00. There are also performances on the Tuesday and Thursday that same week.