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  • Writer's pictureFondazione ILMC

The Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe in London supports the Archive of the ILMC Foundation

Updated: Mar 8

The collaborations between the Istituto di Letteratura Musicale Concentrazionaria Foundation, based in Barletta, and Italian and international cultural institutions, which have taken to heart the activities of safeguarding and disseminating music written in concentration camps and other places of civil and military captivity in the years of the Second World War, continue at full speed. Among the bodies most sensitive to the activities concerning the large Archive and Library created and curated by the ILMC Foundation under the musicological guidance of the president Francesco Lotoro (a musician who has been fully involved in the field of concentration camp music for over thirty years), it has proven to be the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe from London, which by statute, and in response to worthy projects, finances a large number of organizations and individual scholars working in the field of Jewish heritage, culture and education.

The Rothschild Foundation has in fact recognized the important value and uniqueness of the challenge undertaken by Lotoro, namely that of tracing, restoring, publishing and performing musical scores composed in prison or deportation during the Second World War. An achievement that led him to travel the world in search of forgotten compositions, with the aim of preserving the memory of women and men who transformed music into an act of resistance. The result of this, sometimes all-encompassing, commitment has to date been the discovery of over 8,000 scores and 12,500 documents (including diaries, music notebooks, recordings, interviews).

The uniqueness of this heritage of art and humanity is given by the fact that it includes not only thousands of scores, documents and testimonies of Holocaust survivors or their families - that is, music written in Nazi concentration and extermination camps in extreme conditions of deprivation of fundamental human rights - but also any other music composed in prison and deportation in all the conflict zones of the Second World War.

The works that Francesco Lotoro has saved from oblivion - collecting, transcribing and bringing back to life compositions often written on the most unlikely supports and sometimes trying to recreate them philologically starting from seriously damaged materials - range from classical music compositions, celebratory or popular songs from from all over Europe left by Jewish deportees, to the testimonial improvisations of Sinti and Roma musicians, to clandestine protest songs, works of every style and genre, from symphonies, sonatas and operas composed by talented professional musicians, up to entertainment music, tangos, cabaret and popular songs by amateur singers, etc.

There is no shortage of photographs, both on paper and on digital media, which also need to be rearranged in a coherent way, just as there are also non-musical documents (manuscripts, typescripts, printed papers) relating to the musical activity in the Camps; finally, it is necessary to reorder the numerous video and phonographic material, such as VHS, audio cassettes, 33 and 78 rpm records, Pyral records, DVDs and CDs. To all this we must add the books in the Library which include over 3,000 publications. Faced with this monumental cultural heritage, the fundamental contribution of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe is to intervene in support of the essential organization activities through cataloguing, transcription, restoration, digitization and archiving, according to international standards. The further, important, objective is that the research results are subsequently made available to the public through a multilingual anthology and a free-access web portal. "Being able to achieve these results - declared Maestro Francesco Lotoro - is a very important goal because it allows us to return to humanity entire pages of everyone's history, testimonies expressed through music which by its nature is a universal language, as well as universal is its emotional power. Furthermore, the recovery of this lost and rediscovered music opens new paths for musical historiography, which is given the opportunity to recover entire pages unjustly torn from the great book of the History of Music. I therefore want to sincerely thank all the organizations that are supporting us in this arduous undertaking and in particular the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe which intervened to significantly support the Archive and Library of our Foundation, the beating hearts of all our initiatives".

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