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Tübingen Society “Culture of Peace”: Passing on Theodorakis ́ ideas to the youth
It is time to pass on the ideas of Mikis Theodorakis – i.e. those of a culture of peace as a “counter-draft to a world with war, hunger, hatred, exploitation, destruction of nature and the human personality” to younger generations. And this, instead of dry data, through the poetic and committed songs of the Greek composer. Henning Zierock said this during an interview with the Griechenland Zeitung (GZ) last week. Together with Theodorakis, Zierock is one of the initiators of the society “Culture of Peace” (GKF), founded in 1988 and based in Tübingen.
A musical great like Konstantin Wecker is a member of the GKF, and the author Christa Wolf (1929-2011) was also one of its supporters. On the occasion of Theodorakis’ 96th birthday (29 July), Zierock, together with other members of the GKF and the Theodorakis Choir, which has existed since 1977, took the opportunity to visit the Greek capital. Among other things, the delegation was present at a concert-homage to the composer in the garden of the Mega-ron Moussikis, where the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaro-poulou, paid tribute to the popular hero and listened to his music. During their stay in Athens, the representatives of the GKF and the choir suggested that Theodorakis’ well-known Mauthausen Cantata be performed together with young people and students from Greece and Germany at the memorials of Nazi crimes.
In Tübingen and Stuttgart, this cantata, based on texts by the Greek Mauthausen prisoner Iakovos Kambanellis, was already performed in 2020 with students, the Theodorakis Choir, the Greek diva Maria Farantouri and the German singer-songwriter Konstantin Wecker on two memorable days – 8 May (the end of the Second World War) and 30 January (a few days after the memorial day for the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp).
In 2015, the GKF launched a kind of music school in the Kara Tepe refugee camp on Lesbos. Henning Zierock from the GKF during the visit of Theodorakis in 2019 (Photo: GKF) This initiative has remained alive to this day – people make music, sing, try to forget the misery in the camp and learn Greek along the way with Theodorakis texts. During their current stay in Greece, the group from Germany around Zierock, together with music lovers from other countries, is also planning performances in Mytilini and on the small island of Angistri off Athens, in Skinos near Korinth/Vrachati, where Theodorakis lives and composed.
The GKF has been campaigning for better living conditions for people worldwide for several decades with various musical-political projects. As Zierock emphasised to the GZ, both Theodorakis and himself are at an age when one has to think about the continued existence of the GKF.
Independent of the activities of the GKF, an exhibition entitled “The Universe of Mikis Theodorakis” is currently taking place in the Athens concert hall Megaron Moussikis. After a summer break, it can be visited again in September and October. Admission is free, and a visit is always worthwhile. In any case, Theodorakis’ music and his life’s work have always played a central role in the meetings of the GKF. Johanna Pauls, Griechenland Zeitung, 4 th August 2021