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'The Children of Willesden Lane' with Mona Golabek at the French Embassy

Fresh from her acclaimed performances in London, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, American concert pianist, author, and radio host, Mona Golabek, shares her mother’s story, based on her best-selling book, The Children of Willesden Lane. Mona Golabek is the daughter of Lisa Jura, a concert pianist, and French resistance fighter Michel Golabek. Her mother was born in Austria, and was one of 10,000 Jewish children brought to England before World War II as part of the Kindertransport, a mission to rescue children threatened by the Nazis. Although Mona's mother was rescued, her maternal grandparents died at Auschwitz. Her Father, Michel Golabek, received the Croix de Guerre for his heroism in the French Resistance during WW II.

Set in Vienna in 1938, and in London during the Blitz, The Children of Willesden Lane tells the true story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist who dreams about her concert debut at Vienna’s storied Musikverein concert hall. But, with the issuing of new ordinances under the Nazi regime, everything for Lisa changes, except for her love of music and the pursuit of her dream, as she is torn from her family and sent on the Kindertransport to London.

The story intrigued me because my mother was also from Vienna and escaped the Nazis at the age of fourteen. She didn’t escape on a Kindertransport but rather with her mother and also went to London before immigrating to the United States. Like Mona’s grandparents my father’s parents died in Auschwitz.


The Washington premiere of this work by Mona Golabek will be held at the La Maison Française, 4101 Reservoir Road, NW on Sunday, March 5, 2017. Immediately after the concert at the Embassy, The Defiant Requiem Foundation will be hosting a dinner. The concert is one hour in length and features the music of Grieg, Beethoven, Debussy, Bach, Chopin and more.

Proceeds from this benefit performance and dinner will support the mission, performances and educational programs of the Defiant Requiem Foundation. The Foundation was founded by Maestro Murry Sidlin, distinguished conductor, educator, and artistic innovator in 2008. It is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC.

The work of the Foundation is dedicated to preserving the memory of the prisoners in the Terezín concentration camp during World War II. Despite monumental suffering, disease, and the constant presence of death they found hope and inspiration in the arts and humanities. The Foundation achieves its mission by presenting live performances of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín and Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezín Composer. Distributing the award-winning documentary film Defiant Requiem to the broadest possible audience and perpetuating the Rafael Schächter Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Terezín in both the Czech Republic and the United States. The Foundation nurtures opportunities for Holocaust education centered on Terezín, including the Defiant Requiem film curriculum guide and the University Residency Project. Creating new initiatives and artistic programs to honor the creativity and courage of the Terezín prisoners and expanding overall awareness of Terezín.

Tickets to the concert and dinner begin at $250 and space is limited. For information please contact the Foundation office at 202.244.0220.