IN GERMANY

In the summer of 2007 and 2008 Diane presented a vocal workshop at the “Unicorn Voice Camp” in Northern Germany. The founder of the German Unicorn Camps, Raaja Fischer met Diane when their children participated in an exchange program between Israeli and German (eleventh grade) students attending the Waldorf Schools in both countries. 

For two consecutive years Diane traveled to Germany and presented workshops of songs from the Jewish tradition (Hebrew and Yiddish), Israeli and Palestinian folk songs, and her original compositions. As this music opened hearts, as well as voices, much pain came up during the singing of these songs. Very personal pain connected to the Holocaust. The pain carried by the second and third generations of both Jews and Germans trying to grasp what this shared history means to them today. Much healing was done on a personal and a group level through this singing.

Diane also did several performances in the Hitzaker Church (with special guests “Clang Varben” choir lead by Raaja Fischer), and in Lebensgarten , Steyerburg.  She told her personal story through music, playing the songs that accompanied her during each period of her life.

One story lead to the song “Healing the Children” (on the CD “Kol HaNeshama”)

 

Diane tells the story: 

“It was the last day of the Unicorn Voice Camp in Northern Germany, 2007, and Raaja Fischer, the founder/organizer of the camp took me himself to the nearest airport in the city of Hamburg. It was a teary parting as we had both been deeply touched by the events and the closeness and feeling of community that enveloped all the participants of this ten day adventure. I was still feeling very open and connected, in a deep way, to something I might call “the God Within” when I walked into the security section of the airport and on to passport control. By this time I had become so accustomed to the sounds of the German language and the lovely, sensitive people with whom I had shared food, song, tent space, and a deep part of my heart. I felt that I had come to a greater understanding of what I had come here to do in this world.

 

At passport control I was met by a very tall, well-built German man in a uniform and hat. At least he seemed very tall to me, because the booth was quite high and I had to look up to see him. He was a rather “grey” character with a strong stiff jaw. Without looking at me he took my passport and started thumbing through it quickly. Then he spoke to me in a strong German accent (not the gentle German that I had been listening to for the last three weeks) : “I see that you live in Israel………….but you were born in the United States………you are traveling through Budapest……………you are now in Hamburg…………and you came to Germany through Berlin……….were you here on business?..............??” 

 

He kept asking me questions, and I was totally and utterly taken back by my “second generation Holocaust survivor” gut reaction, that I knew only too well from childhood.  I was again gripped by a dreadful fear (I imagined the black boots, the fierce dogs and the showers….). At that same moment I was so upset with myself for this “childish” fearful reaction. I thought I had worked all this pain and fear out of me. I thought I had finished with it, once and for all. But alas, here it was again, stronger than ever! 

 

And there I stood, a “50 plus” year old woman, with my guitar on one shoulder and my backpack on the other, still dirty from the 10 days in the muddy fields. I must have been quite a sight!  I looked at his face closely for the first time and said to him: “I am a child of the world” and realized that by now I knew enough German to be able to say that in German too (more or less!). Then, for the first time, he looked down on me from his glass booth and broke into a warm smile that I will never forget. It was as if the glass between us had just shattered into a thousand pieces and I saw the light in his eyes as we looked at each other for that brief second that reminded me once again that every person has “that God Within” him, whether he be German, Jew, Arab, black, white…………..and we are all able to open our hearts to each other if we can put our fears aside.

 

As I sat waiting for the plane I began writing the song “Healing the Children” which begins with the words “I am a child of the World”. In its simplicity, it speaks of healing the inner child in each of us, by taking down the walls we build around our hearts. It is also dedicated to the future generations of children who will grow up in openness and love, without the burdens of the fears and hatred their ancestors clung to.”

This experience left a deep impression on Diane.  She then began looking for ways to build bridges for peace between Jews and Arabs, both through her music and through education.  Being an educator and an English teacher for many years in the Waldorf School, she joined the small group of “pioneers”, to open the first Arab Waldorf School in Israel, located in the Arab village of Shfaram in the Western Galilee.

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