"The Holocaust is remembered today in various forms. With Beneath White Stars: Holocaust Profiles in Song, Holly Mandelkern builds on her reputation as a leader in Holocaust studies and education. As she did so effectively with her poetry, Holly now uses music to give expression to those who suffered unimaginable atrocities. Once again, voice is given to the voiceless, compelling the listener to explore one’s own humanity and to consider the unbreakable human spirit."
Scott W. LoehrPresident & CEO, National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
"It is my great pleasure to recommend this powerfully emotive and important musical collection, commemorating both the victims and heroes of the Nazi genocide. These songs are very well-produced and beautifully orchestrated with deeply meaningful lyrics and powerful vocals. From the poetic legacy of Jewish women in the ghettos, camps, and resistance movements, to the Kindertransport, to the story of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg and many more, the message in the music contains a profound truth: that belief in the ultimate ability of humankind to overcome the darkest and most brutal of forces is the light which must carry us forward."
Kenneth Hanson, PhDProfessor and Coordinator of Judaic Studies University of Central Florida
"Beneath White Stars: Holocaust Profiles in Song is a stirring collection of stories told through the powerful lens of music. Each story, each song comes to life through a variety of instrumentations that connect the listener to these first hand accounts. Both the music and lyrics actively engage in a conversation that must be had— what was lost, what happened, and what must be done to truly say 'Never Again.'"
Hazzan Jesse HolzerCantor, Jacksonville Jewish Center
"Beneath White Stars beautifully adapts seventeen of Holly Mandelkern's poems into songs that honor courageous individuals from the Holocaust. Her poetry, and now these songs, focus on uplifting personal stories of survival, resistance, and rescue. Featuring a classic folk music sensibility, these musical selections combine the urgency of historical awareness with the timelessness of melodic and lyrical beauty. Individual stories shared through this original and stirring music tenderly honor the lives and memory of those who must not be forgotten."
Mitchell BloomerHolocaust educator
"Beneath White Stars is a rare find which seeks to use modern music to commemorate the Holocaust. Diverse musical styles and exceptional lyrics by Holly Mandelkern are rooted in history and beautifully honor these stories captured in song. This album will be very useful to those planning Holocaust commemorations as well as teachers seeking a unique catalyst for classroom discussions."
Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emanuel, Greensboro, North Carolina
Mid Atlantic Regional Director, International March of the Living
"Not only are the songs from Beneath White Stars highly personal, insightful accounts of the Holocaust, they are both memorials and catalysts for creatively contemplating the lives they represent. Multiple instruments and voices present songs that are pensive and yearning, triumphant and defiant, elegiac and electrifying, a range corresponding to the varied lives and experiences recounted. Yet there is a coherence in the variety; mood and tempo vary to sustain listeners' interest, and the acoustic, folk-like renditions meld hints of Celtic and Eastern European styles with a measured tone and sensitivity. The words and music are accessible without being facile, tracing constellations among the White Stars. I’ll be returning to this treasury for listening with my students and family."
Tyler Fisher, PhDProfessor of Modern Languages and Literatures Burnett Honors College, University of Central Florida
"These poems, welded of such weight, emotive contour, and beauty, have been adapted without seams into inventive vocal and instrumental settings that frame stories and portraits the way timeless folk music has always done. Each line becomes its own scene, each figure becomes an icon of the many, each supporting chord and melody becomes a bloodstream we can follow into our own feeling of mourning or epiphany. My gratitude to an important poet, supported by talented producers, composers, and musicians."
Al RocheleauPast President, Florida State Poets Association
"Holly Mandelkern's lyrics in Beneath White Stars brilliantly portray the hopes of a people striving to stay alive. In poignant profiles and images, these songs tell stories that are deeply human, allowing the listener to enter into the times, places, and struggles of their tellers, including survivors and the heroes who rescued them. Listeners will not so much be overwhelmed by the horror of the Holocaust as they will be overwhelmed by the humanity of those depicted here. This is music that will touch your heart and your soul."
Harry Coverston, PhDPriest, St. Richard's Episcopal Church, Winter Park, FL
Beneath White Stars offers portraits of the Holocaust's heroes and victims, and through song, it immortalizes their legacies. Holly Mandelkern's lyrics are powerful, gentle, informative, and heart-wrenching, and the music is crafted with the utmost care. I highly recommend Beneath White Stars.