European Tour returns

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The European Tour has returned.

Three buses arrived on the St. Cloud State University campus June 4, bringing back musical emissaries whose tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and their descendants still reverberates in Germany, France and Switzerland.

The 200 people from St. Cloud State University, the College of Saint Benedict, Saint John's University and the SCSU Cantabile Girls Choir, performed "To Be Certain of the Dawn," a Holocaust memorial oratorio written by Stephen Paulus and Michael Dennis Browne and commissioned by the Rev. Michael J. O'Connell of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

The tour and its musical gift of healing will be commemorated in a documentary DVD commissioned by St. Cloud State's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education. View video clips from the European Tour.

Rooted in themes and subjects of mutual interest to the Jewish and Christian faith communities, the oratorio pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and honors survivors and their descendants. Paulus and Browne were at the concentration camp concert.

June 1, the study group visited a town in Germany where there have been no Jews since the 1930s. Edelheit prayed in the Christian church at Ihringen, Germany, then led tour members on a march to the nearby Jewish cemetery. Read the St. Cloud Times story about events in Ihringen, a town of nearly 6,000 across the Rhine River from France.

The final days of the European Tour featured powerful educational opportunities, including a lecture on Zionism at Switzerland's Basel University. May 31, the group toured the Kaiserstuhl hills of the Upper Rhine Valley, Germany's most famous wine region. View the St. Cloud Times story and 14-photo slide show.

Tour musicians were in Freiburg, Germany, May 30, for a Holocaust memorial concert in the campus church at the University of Freiburg. View the St. Cloud Times story and 14-photo slide show.

A May 29 concert at the site of a Nazi concentration camp in Natzweiler, France, drew an estimated 1,200 people, including former camp prisoners. View the St. Cloud Times coverage:

The study group toured the camp May 28. View the St. Cloud Times story, slide show and podcast. View a photo slide show underscored with Edelheit's words.

The May 24 concert in Dusseldorf, Germany, and May 27 concert in Colmar, France, are chronicled in the St. Cloud Times:

The 2005 premiere of the oratorio celebrated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the death camps at the end of World War II and the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II document that condemned blaming Jews for the death of Christ. O'Connell witnessed the Natzweiler performance.

Performers on the European study tour participated in a curriculum guided by the Jewish Studies Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education at St. Cloud State. The tour included visits to churches, mosques, synagogues, museums, universities and the European Union Parliament.

- Jeff Wood and Marge Proell

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