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Past Events

Past EventsSunday, February 19

I Lived on this Earth.... Hungarian Poets on the Holocaust

George (György) Gömöri
Mari (Markus) Gomori
Marianne Olyver
Robert Schuck
Janet Suzman

Dame Janet Suzman and George Gömöri read poems from I Lived on this Earth… Hungarian Poets on the Holocaust, edited by poet and translator George Gömöri and his wife Mari Gömöri. They were accompanied by violinist Marianne Olyver and pianist Robert Schuck.

…the voice speaks to you from inside
and does not let you rest whilst you sit in your homes
whilst you are out whilst you lie down or rise
until you speak with their voice
speak with their words  speak in your tongue
instead of them for them in their name
calling yourselves
calling them
each one by name  

from A Vision by Gábor T. Szántó ( born 1966)

With a foreword by eminent historian Sir Martin Gilbert, this anthology comprises a selection of work by eighteen Hungarian poets from three generations. They include those who write about their own experiences - those who survived, or are remembering parents or grandparents who perished - and others who were observers, or are looking back on the tragic  events.

The volume includes two of the greatest Hungarian poets of the last century: Miklós Radnóti, who was murdered on a forced march, and János Pilinszky, who witnessed the atrocities in Germany while serving in the Hungarian Army. Radnóti was identified in a mass grave by the little notebook of poems found in  the pocket of his coat. 

An anthology of Hungarian poets on the Holocaust cannot be complete without poems which give a voice to the suffering of the Gypsy  victims, who are so often overlooked and several poems on this subject are included too.   

George (György) Gömöri left Hungary after the revolution in 1956 in which he was one of the student organisers and editor of the journal University Youth.  He taught Polish and Hungarian literature from 1969 to 2001 at the University of Cambridge where he is now Emeritus Fellow of Darwin College.  He also edited an anthology of modern Hungarian poetry The Colonnade of Teeth in 1996 with George Szirtes. His literary prizes include the Salvatore Quasimodo Prize, the Ada Negri Prize, the Pro Cultura Hungarica. I Lived on this Earth... is his 52nd book.

Mari (Markus) Gomori was born in Budapest Hungary in 1946, her parents having survived the Holocaust. In 1951 the whole family were deported by the communists for being ‘class aliens’ and lost their home again. In 1956 Mari’s family escaped to Austria.They settled in England and after training at RADA Mari worked in theatre and television. In 1989 Mari set up the Mari Markus Gomori Concerts for Children an organization she ran for twenty years,  presenting over 80 concerts in 12 cities. She has been married  for thirty-one years  to George Gomori and they have together been editing and publishing books of poetry.  

Marianne Olyver violin, was the first girl to be invited to lead the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Her guest appearance on Womans Hour, where she performed live, was voted BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week. She teaches at the Royal Academy of Music, London. She has also taught at the Delay Symposium with Itzhak Perlman at The Julliard School, New York. Directing Marianne Olyver and Her Orchestra she has both broadcast and performed at Festivals and major concert halls both in the UK and abroad.

Robert Schuck piano, studied with Peter Gellhorn, at the Royal Academy of Music, King's College, London. He has enjoyed a wide range of work as a pianist for instrumentalists, singers and for dance.  He teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.

Janet Suzman, born in South Africa, became one of the RSC’s most distinguished actresses, now turned director. Her Cleopatra is legendary; she recently directed Kim Cattrall in the same part to superb notices. 

Experience the event as it happened:

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