Remembering the Holocaust through dance – for the next generations
Eva Fahidi was 18 years old when she was deported to Auschwitz with her family from their home city of Debrecen, in Hungary. Her mother, father, and younger sister perished there. Born in 1925, Fahidi is now 96, and still lives in Hungary. In recent years, she has become outspoken in expressing what happened in the Holocaust – also through dance.
Her performance, “Sea Lavender or The Euphoria of Being,” a duet with dancer Emese Cuhorka, who is 60 years her junior, premiered in 2015. The title was inspired by a plant that can grow in poor soil, symbolizing Fahidi’s difficult life. They performed altogether 95 times in Budapest, as well as in other cities in Europe including Vienna, Berlin, Weimar, Stadtallendorf, Subotica. It was Fahidi’s first time performing in front of an audience. “All my life, I knew it [dance] was a way I could express myself best of all,” Fahidi explained in an interview with DW.
For decades, Fahidi was silent, unable to speak about her terrible memories from the Holocaust era. But a 2003 visit to the notorious death camp where she lost her family pushed her to put pen to paper and write her memoir about her interrupted youth. She also advises several Holocaust memorial foundations, and has spoken before parliamentarians at the German Bundestag. A 2020 Hungarian documentary film about her dance performance, “The Euphoria of Being,” has won altogether nine awards all over the world thus far.
Now, Fahidi’s goal is to reach young audiences, at a time when populism is rising again in Europe. “I believe in youths,” she said. “My generation made so many mistakes – the young generation should learn a lesson from our mistakes and experience.”