A city, a community, a war, a ghetto, a displacement, a farewell, a promise for an uncertain meeting after the return to a place that may no longer exist.

Felix Mendelssohn’s heart-breaking composition of his youth, with the above-mentioned title, meets in this project the story of separations that took place hundred years later. A town that lost many of its inhabitants, houses that suddenly were left abandoned, families who were split and crammed into trains with an unknown destination. Hands that didn’t have time to embrace, caress, say goodbye.

A project which is a tribute to the citizens of emptied cities. At night the breeze brings their voices and songs to the neighbourhoods where they once lived.

The background of this project is a narrative of my mother about the extermination of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, including several of her friends, in 1943 as part of the systematically applied “final solution”. Over the time span of only some months – with gradual restrictions, and finally a complete imprisonment in the ghetto – about 50.000 of the city’s Jewish inhabitants were dispatched with the “trains of death” to the Nazi extermination camps.

Andromachi Dimitriadou Lindahl

The piece aims to give a human face and a voice to those who perished. In this endeavour I encountered Leon Saltiel’s book Don’t forget me, Letters of three Jewish mothers to their sons from the ghetto of Thessaloniki. It struck me to the heart, like everyone who has read it. With his kind collaboration and the generous permission and guidance of Eleni Saltiel, wife of Maurice Saltiel we have been able to use extracts from the letters of Sarina Saltiel mother of Maurice, and through her vivid and loving letters to him, to trace her tragic and hazardous path.

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