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May 14, 1965 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-05-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

With a Song

come hard to a man who cannot Fenakel, the festival will feature
two works by Julius Chajes, direc-
forget?
"Many times I have been asked tor of the Jewish Center Sym-

and Faith — in His Heart

how I survived the tortuous labors phony Orchestra. One of the
under the Nazi regime," he said. works, "Hebrew Suite for Clarinet,
"My only answer has been my Strings and Piano," will have its
were dismissed from the com- everlasting faith in God and Detroit debut at the concert.
pany and interned in a labor
For tickets, call the Adas
humanity. Those with no faith
camp.
were the first to be lost. But I was Shalom office, UN 4-7474. The
The nightmare years of 1940 to not lost, not for a minute. As I event is sponsored by the syna-
1943 saw Nicholas in labor camps walked I always looked up. Always gogue men's clubs with the co-
in Romania, Yugoslavia and Hun- up."
operation of all affiliates.
gary, building railroads, cleaning
* *
Michigan was the first state to
sewers, disposing of the dead.
provide in its constitution for the
It was inevitable — the cattle
establishment of public libraries.
cars halted near his camp. Stan-
islo, Poland, was to be the last
stop.
The annual Jewish Music Festi-
But Nicholas Fenakel's fate was
not to be that of his sister, two val of Cong. Adas Shalom, featur-
older brothers, his mother, step- ing pianist Joann Freeman, a
Riccada# Cocktail's got it!
father—in total, 320 members of synagogue chamber orchestra and
42 PROOF
CODE NO
the great Fenakel family of rabbis choirs, will be presented 8 p.m.

6688
4/5 QUART
and cantors murdered in Ausch- Thursday at the synagogue.
UNITED BRANDS • DETROIT • U.S.A..
Directed by Cantor Nicholas
witz. Nicholas escaped.
Over the Carpathian mountains
into Hungary, he and several com-
panions dragged their weakened
bodies toward freedom in October
1944. Heading for the Russian
lines, the youths made a wrong
!.muunnnumeat.
1
mumpagnimmuurnII:=4
turn and wound up in the middle
hjidkhrej
of the Germans' first line.
Hiding in a cave for 19 days, he
and three others kept alive on
We Kid You Not .. .
bread and water. When they came
up for air, they were overjoyed
NOBODY UNDERSELLS
to find Russian troops approach-
ing. Their joy was short lived.
One look at the y e 11 o w "Jew"
badges, and the Ukrainian res-
cuers became the jailers. Nicholas
"AND DON'T EVER FORGET IT!"
was placed in another prison
camp, this time in Russia.
TWINBROOK 1-1600
Once again his voice saved
12140 JOS. CAMPAU at CARPENTER
him. The camp band .leader
asked •him to be tenor soloist,
Half Mile South of Davison
and a music - loving of f i c e r
promised to help him resume his
studies.
The officer was as good as his
word. At the end of 1944, young
Fenakel was guest vocalist for a
celebration marking the end of
the European hostilities. He sang
for the military heads of Hungary,
car needs a
Great Britain, Russia and America
meeting in Debrecen, Hungary, at
new transmission ...
the invitation of Marshall Voroshi-
boy and General Kay.
It was many miles from Hungary
to the United States, but at least
they were not tortuous miles. He
became cantor of a leading Buda-
pest synagogue, then accepted a
position at the f a m o u s Dukes
Place Great Synagogue in London.
Among its officers at that time
were Baron Edmund Rothschild
and Cecil Roth.
An important milestone oc-
curred during that tenure: his
marriage to a pretty London miss.
He and Molly Fenakel have a
daughter, 12, born in this country.
And his dream of coming to the
United States was fulfilled in 1949
when Rabbi Jacob Segal's new
congregation Adas Shalom Invited
him to fill its cantorial post.
Today, 16 years later, he is a
prominent member of many com-
munal organizations, an organizer
of the Center senior citizens group,
founder 13 years ago of the syna-
gogue's Jewish Musical Festival,
a "patron" who encourages young
cantors-to-be just as he was helped
early in his career (he has seen
four of his students go into train-
ing at the Jewish Theological
Seminary, a high percentage in a
selective field).
Among the few survivors of
his family are a nephew, sister
and brother-in-law he brought
out of Hungary in 1951.
His many services were offi-
cially recognized in 1959 by
Mayor Louis C. Miriani, who pro-
Member Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
claimed a Nicholas Fenakel Day.
But perhaps service doesn't

Cantor Fenakel Relives Journey Into Freedom

BY CHARLOTTE HYAMS
They say that when a cantor
stands before the Lord on Yom
Kippur, it is as though he were
a defense attorney pleading his
congregants' case.
Few have b et t e r right than
Nicholas Fenakel. For Can t o r
Fenakel came through the greatest
trial mankind has yet known. He
was a witness to the Crime
Against the Six Million.
At 49, Cantor Fenakel is a tall,
dapper man, with a warm smile
and a firm handshake for the
Sabbath morning worshipers at
Adas Shalom Synagogue.
A private eye trailing him
would be weary at the end of an
hour. If he's not conducting a
class for young cantorial hopefuls,
or directing the choir in some new
liturgical melody, he's probably
with the Jewish Center's Golden
Age Choir, whose 45 members
look up to him as a sort of modern
Sweet Singer of Songs. The list of
awards he has received from every
quarter is as big as the number
of refugees from the Old World
he has helped settle here.
Cantor Fenakel has not for-
gotten that Old World. The
ready laugh and the gracious
manner are part of him, but so
are the memories.
By age 16, Nicholas Fenakel
was a cantor in Budapest. The city
with its bright lights and gay life
were a far cry from the town of
Moson, near the western border
of Hungary, where his father
Vilmos Fenakel was cantor.
As soon as he was considered of
age-4—Nicholas joined his three
brothers in their father's syna-
gogue quartet. "I learned to sing
with tears," the cantor recalls,

"because my father was very sick
with incurable asthma." At age 48,
Vilmos Fenakel, cantor, conductor
and composer, died. He had not
lived to see his family decimated
by the Nazi hordes looming on
the horizon.
When he was 19, Nicholas was
drafted into the Hungarian army.

Festival of Music
at Adas Shalom

Like BRANDY ?

1 4 9

ROM

CANTOR NICHOLAS FENAKEL

His voice saved him from a second
year of duty among the vilely
anti-Semitic troops. He performed
in an army concert, and his voice
so impressed the commanding
officer that the youth was recom-
mended to a patron of the Buda-
pest opera. Baron Hatvany had
him audition before the leaders
of the Budapest Opera House in
his palace, and Nicholas was im-
mediately signed up as a promis-
ing operatic tenor. -
Three years later, he and all
other Jewish musical artists

Leaders Plan Big 1965 Michigan Week

Herbert Epstein, (right, top row), president, Pfeiffer Brewery,
and chairman of 1965 Michigan Week for Wayne County, meets with
his top committee heading up various activities, to plan a program
for the 13th annual Michigan Week, May 16-22. From left front,
clockwise are Loretta Ruff, co-director, Grinnell Galleries, co-chairman,
cultural activities; Rabbi Robert Syme, Temple Israel, co-chairman,
spiritual foundation day; Roger Shively, Detroit Business Institute,
Detroit chairman, Michigan Week; Dr. Norman Weinheimer, super-
intendent of schools, Highland Park, chairman, education day;
Thomas Jordan, audit manager, Price, Waterhouse and Co., co-chair-
man, livelihood day; Wallace Fleming, executive director, junior
achievement, co-chairman, livelihood day; Herbert Epstein; Jimmie
Hawkins, managing director, Whittier Hotel, chairman, hospitality
day; Gladys Canty, community relations aide for Camp Fire Girls,
co-chairman, youth day; Robert Nadeau, manufacturers representa-
tive for D. Dykstra & Co., chairman, fur products awards. Maxwell
Garman, public relations chairman, was not present for the picture.

40th Jubilee Concert

WOODY PONTIAC

So your

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
8—Friday, May 14, 1965

Detroit Jewish Folk Chorus — Conducted by Harvey Schreibman

SUNDAY, MAY 23rd — 8:00 P.M., AT THE SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL — MASONIC TEMPLE

Presenting Excerpts from:

MENDELE MOICHER SFORIM'S BENJAMIN THE THIRD
SHOLEM ALEICHEM'S OIFN FIDDLE

with Songs from the Historic Repertoire of 40 Years Existence

MUM

GUEST ARTISTS. NATHAN & SYLVIA SAMAROFF
LEON MALEMUT and HENRI GOLDBERG

With YOUTH CHORUS—Yiddish, English & Hebrew Songs

TICKETS FROM MEMBERS OF CHORUS; CALL DI 1-9231 or BR 2-0330; or at BOX OFFICE EVE OF PERFORMANCE

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