To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2022, we are hosting a concert with music and readings to tell the story of Jewish refugees in Newmarket during World War II, featuring a string quartet from the Britten Sinfonia.
Doors open at 4pm on Wednesday 26th January 2022, with refreshments available to purchase from The Tack Room. The concert is expected to finish at 6pm.
The concert forms part of a new joint heritage project from Suffolk Archives, Orchestras Live and the National Horseracing Museum, aiming to uncover stories of Jewish refugees who were housed in Newmarket during World War Two.
The project has been inspired by the memoir of one of these refugees, Fritz Ball, who with his wife Eva was among 25 Jewish refugees living at Palace House Stables (now part of the National Horseracing Museum) in September 1939. They had come from Berlin, where Fritz had worked as a lawyer until Jews were barred from the profession by the Nazi government in 1935. Fritz had been arrested the day after Kristallnacht and spent time in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Fritz’s memoir gives a fascinating insight into the life of the refugees sent to Newmarket at this time and helps us to understand the challenges faced by those arriving in a new place.
A new exhibition at the National Horseracing Museum looks at the placement of refugees in Newmarket in more detail, utilising materials and documents shared by the family of Fritz Ball. Find out more about the exhibition here.
In 1992 Britten Sinfonia was established as a bold reimagining of the conventional image of a chamber orchestra. It is an Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London, Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall in Essex and has a regular season in Norwich. It performs regularly at London’s Wigmore Hall and at major UK festivals including the Aldeburgh, Brighton, Norfolk and Norwich Festivals and the BBC Proms.
Newmarket Academy Students
We will also hear from Sandra Ball, Fritz Ball’s granddaughter during the concert.
About Fritz Ball:
Fritz Ball was born in Berlin in 1893. In 1921 he married Eva Gutfield and together they had three sons – Peter, Dieter, and Thomas. Fritz was a lawyer and an accomplished cellist. Remarkably, one of his cellos survives to this day.
The Nazi party came to power in Germany in 1933. In 1935 Jewish people were barred from the professions and Fritz was no longer able to work as a solicitor. Jewish people were also barred from playing the music of particular composers.
The family tried desperately to get the papers needed to leave Germany. They secured permission for their eldest son, Peter, to travel alone to the USA in 1938, aged 14. In March 1939 Dieter and Thomas came to Britain on the Kindertransport.
Finally, in May 1939 Fritz and Eva got permission to come to England too. The family would not be reunited until 1946 in the USA.
In tonight’s performance we first join Fritz in Berlin in 1938, when he is working as a soap salesman, before following him to his new life in Newmarket.
Pictured: Fritz & Eva in Newmarket (photo: Ball Family)
“We would have liked to stay in London a little longer, but we have to move on to our new home in Newmarket. We take the train to a small town, two hours north of London where a wealthy Englishman has provided a house for refugees… We see immediately that our life will be easier. In the morning when someone knocks at the door, it is the milkman and not a gestapo officer.” – Fritz Ball on life in Newmarket.
The Concert Readings:
All of tonight’s readings are taken from a memoir written by Fritz Ball. This memoir has been translated from German into English, and a copy has been deposited with Suffolk Archives.
The Concert Music:
Schubert quartet no. 7 in D Major, movement 1 – Fritz mentions that his son Peter wished to hear this piece the night before he left for America on his own, aged 14.
Brahms Piano Trio in B major (extract) – This piece brought the family to tears when Fritz played again it for the first time after his hands were damaged in the camp at Sachsenhausen.
Bruch Kol Nidrei (extract) – Fritz performed this with the composer Hans Gal in a concert whilst they were interned on the Isle of Man.
Beethoven quartet op.59 no.1, Movements II and III – Another of Fritz’s son’s favourites requested before he left Germany.
Noel Coward, Has Anybody Seen Our Ship – Fritz refers to his musical Newmarket neighbours performing ‘the most awful English hits’.
Leo Smit quartet (unfinished) – Leo Smit was a Dutch composer who was killed in the Sobibor extermination camp at the age of 42. This string quartet was left unfinished.
This photograph used for the tile of this event (sepia, showing 8 people) was taken in Newmarket in summer 1939. Fritz can be seen standing, second from left, and Eva is seated, centre, with her knitting. The other people in the group are most likely also Palace House Stables refugees.
In September 1939 a register was taken of the population of England and Wales. 25 people were recorded as living in the refugee hostel at Palace House stables. They included a doctor, a pianist, and opera singer, an oil factory owner, a retired judge, and a 4-year-old school boy.
Holocaust Memorial Day:
Holocaust Memorial Day activities bring people together on or around 27th January to remember the millions of people who were murdered or whose lives were changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
HMD is marked on 27th January because this is the anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, by Soviet troops in 1945.
Wednesday 26th January 2022
This event has closed
Free of Charge
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