Please excuse the delay in writing to thank you for the nice welcome you and associates extended to me in Raanana on February 5th 2010. It was truly unforgettable to be a part of this very special event, so well organized by the “Beit Theresienstadt Remembrance Association,” the “Raanana Symphonette Orchestra,” in cooperation with the Embassy of Switzerland in Tel Aviv.
When I arrived at the Raanana Music and Art Center, Mrs. Noa Benglas-Yavin was kind to greet me and talk about her work dedicated to the love of music. During the reception, I enjoyed meeting guests and dignitaries, including the Honorable Mayor of Raanana, Mr. N. Hofree, distinguished MP members, Messieurs Bielski and Akunis. Afterwards, when Mrs. R. Schrenk asked me to join you in the adjacent room, I was certainly not expecting to meet so many members of the February 1945 train. It was a rare privilege to listen to the touching stories of these courageous survivors.
The concert was an uplifting experience, accompanied by the exquisite voices of the Opera Studio singers, as we viewed photographs of the prisoners and life at Theresienstadt. The music and digital images were remarkably choreographed. Mr. W. Haffner commented that the orchestra and its musical repertoire were outstanding and, indeed, I concur with his evaluation. I am most grateful to the Beit T. Remembrance association for including the photos of my grand-father Jean-Marie and my dear father Benoît at the end of the concert. I was very moved by the gesture! Truly, the best gifts in life are those that touch the heart.
The Raanana ceremony and concert is a treasure which I will forever cherish. Please extend to Dr. M. Shlain and to Mr. Y. Guterman my best regards and sincere appreciation. It was a pleasure meeting you and I hope to visit with you once again in your beautiful country.