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Present Music's screening of 'The City Without Jews' provides unique musical experience

The recently rediscovered film "The City Without Jews" will be screening at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
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The recently rediscovered film, "The City Without Jews" will be screening at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Sunday, Oct. 29, Present Music is showcasing a unique performance at the Milwaukee Art Museum, featuring the recently rediscovered film, Die Stadt Ohne Juden or The City Without Jews.

The film, based upon a book of the same name, premiered nearly a hundred years ago and predicted some of the events of the Holocaust.

After the film was rediscovered in a Paris flea market seven years ago, composer Olga Neubert wrote a score for it.

Sunday's screening will be accompanied by that score — live, performed by Present Music and conducted by Yaniv Dinur.

With the ongoing events in the Middle East, the screening presents a unique experience for Israeli-born Dinur. "When I was asked to conduct this movie, I, of course, said, 'Yes.' It sounded very interesting. But you know, these are tough subjects — the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. And, of course, growing up in Israel, you are surrounded by this. You learn about the Holocaust from day one, basically," he says.

Dinur continues, "I'm very fortunate that my own family is safe. I'm, of course, in touch with them daily about the situation. But, you know, it's such a small country and we all know somebody who was directly affected by the terrorist attack of Hamas and Israeli citizens on October 7. So, I know whose family members were kidnapped or murdered. It's a very difficult time. And the fact that I'm, coincidentally, also doing this movie that was produced 100 years ago, but it's still so relevant — it's not an easy experience."

Dinur says he is committed to allowing the art to speak for itself and hopes that the messages that film convey are received "This is art after all. And I'm going to leave it to [the audience] to interpret it and to take what they want from it. ... I'm hoping that people will see this movie and be more aware of what's happening around us and do something about it, if possible."


Corrected: October 25, 2023 at 3:21 PM CDT
This story originally had that the screening takes place on Thursday. The post has been updated to reflect the correct date — Sunday, Oct. 29.
Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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