A recent survey by the Claims Conference (PRNewswire/ Sept. 16, 2020 ) shows the lessons of the Holocaust are in danger of being lost, even as the nation and the world are roiled by forceful waves of fascism and racial hatred.
63% of adults aged 18-39 did not know 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
58% believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.
56% said they had seen Nazi symbols on their social media platforms and/or in their communities, and 49% had seen Holocaust denial or distortion posts on social media or elsewhere online.
48% could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during World War II.
23% said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure.
"This needs to serve as a wake-up call to us all."
– Gideon Taylor, President of the Claims Conference.
At the same time as the lessons of the Holocaust are fading from public consciousness, we are confronted daily with headlines that show antisemitism and authoritarianism on the rise. To cite just a few:
Neo-Nazi Groups Organizing Antisemitic 'National Day of Hate,' Police Warn -Newsweek, February 24, 2023
Report: Kanye's Anti-Semitic Rhetoric Led to Assaults, Vandalism -RollingStone, February 13, 2023
"We've Never Seen Data Like This Before, Ever": Antisemitic Incidents Hit All-Time High in 2021. -The New York Times, April 29, 2022
U.S. listed as a ‘backsliding’ democracy for first time in report by European think tank -The Washington Post, November 22, 2021
In the face of a barrage of such frightening headlines, there is the good news that live theater can provide an antidote:
"LIVE THEATRE IMPROVES EMPATHY,
AND LEADS TO PRO-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR"
-- Journal of Experiment Social Psychology,
In this pioneering study, audience members reported feeling more empathy for the groups of people depicted in plays, and changed their attitudes about political issues related to the plays. And in addition, after seeing the plays, people donated more to charities both related and unrelated to the shows.
THE PIANIST, in particular, is an potent vehicle for sparking empathy and changing attitudes, as well as keeping the lessons of the Holocaust freshly alive and vividly conveyed to new generations.
It is the mission of the Producers and Creative Team to make THE PIANIST an unforgettable shared experience that will continue through the years to alert and alarm audiences, even as it inspires us with hope that the human spirit and humanity will triumph.
WHY NOW: THE URGENCY OF PRESENTING THE PIANIST
In 1939, Wladyslaw Szpilman played Chopin's Nocturne No. 20 in C-Sharp Minor as the Nazis invaded Poland. In 2022, Ukrainian civilians find their own power against Russian aggression through music.
A COMMUNITY GUIDE FOR OPPOSING HATE
A publication of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, Western States Center, and the Montana Human Rights Network
Interested in organizing against hate in your community? Read the Bard Center for the Study of Hate's new Community Guide for Opposing Hate. The guide offers an actionable, step-by-step blueprint for those who want to “do something” about hate, not only for the immediate aftermath of a hateful act, but for years to come to improve their community.