Simon Gronowski’s story in Opera

Some of you will remember that Simon Gronowski came to speak to IJC last autumn. Those who were there found it profoundly moving. They were not alone. Simon's story has now been made into an opera production which has been touring southern England. The UK's Jewish Chronicle (JC) just published a report on the opera, called 'Push' being performed at the House of Commons speaker John Bercow's residence in January. Mr Bercow said it was a means of both "remembering and preventing a repetition of the Holocaust".

Says the JC: "After the performance, Simon told the audience of around 150 guests how the Nazis murdered his mother and sister in Auschwitz. Describing the opera as 'fantastic and emotional', Mr Gronowski praised its authenticity.

The title Push refers to the moment his mother pushed him from the Auschwitz-bound train after Belgian resistance members brought it to a near halt after clashing with German guards.

Of the 233 people who tried to escape the train, 26 were shot, while another 89 were recaptured. Mr Gronowski was one of 118 who escaped, aged just 11.

Despite the horrendous effect of Nazi persecution on his own family he told the audience that he had not grown up feeling 'hatred' although he revealed that he frequently shed tears over the past."

Push will be performed at La Monnaie in Brussels in March but unfortunately it is already sold out. Hopefully it will be shown again soon.