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Israel Movie Night: "Defiant Requiem"

Monday, February 12, 2018 • 27 Shevat 5778

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMASBI Social Hall

“Defiant Requiem” (2012)

Monday, February 12, 7:00 PM, at ASBI

85 minutes



“Defiant Requiem”, a feature-length documentary film, highlights the most dramatic example of intellectual and artistic courage in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp: the remarkable story of Rafael Schächter, a brilliant young Czech conductor who was sent to Terezín in 1941. He demonstrated moral leadership under the most brutal circumstances, determined to sustain courage and hope for his fellow prisoners by enriching their souls through great music. He recruited 150 fellow prisoners and taught them Verdi’s “Requiem” by rote, after grueling days of forced labor. The most infamous performance of Verdi’s “Requiem” occurred on June 23, 1944, before high-ranking SS officers from Berlin and the International Red Cross, to support the charade that the prisoners were treated well and flourishing.


With testimony provided by surviving members of Schächter’s choir, soaring concert footage, cinematic dramatizations, and evocative animation, this unique film explores the singers’ view of the Verdi as a work of defiance and resistance against the Nazis. The text of the Requiem Mass enabled them, as Schächter told the chorus, to “sing to the Nazis what they could not say to them.”


“Defiant Requiem” was named Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York City and was the runner-up for the Audience Award in January 2013 at the Palm Springs Film Festival. In 2014, “Defiant Requiem” was nominated for two News and Documentary Emmy Awards: Outstanding Historical Documentary Long Form and Outstanding Writing.


Sponsored by the Israel Committee.

Pizza, pop, popcorn, and chips will be served.


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