Push- Simon Gronowski’s story

It’s been sometime since I wrote anything down here- partly just not getting around to it, but partly working myself up to writing about me…

The only thing worth writing about today is the gig I’ve just played on.
Today I’m at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea playing a community Opera called Push, the main part of which is the story of Simon Gronowski. When Simon was 11 he was caught up in the Holocaust, and was put on a train on the way to Auschwitz when his Mother took an opportunity and pushed him off. He survived, and escaped. Incredibly, later in life he met the son of one of the guards, who had put him and so many others on those trains. The son told him that his Father, the guard, was dying, and had requested that Simon meet him which Simon agreed to. During the course of that meeting the guard asked Simon’s forgiveness, which Simon felt he could do nothing but give.

An extraordinary story- but today we played this opera, involving large numbers of the local community round this way, to Simon himself… He’s in his 80s but still very much alive, a survivor of the Holocaust. There are simply no words to describe what this means, each of us is coming to terms with it in our own way, but we can at least all of us say that we bore witness to Simon’s story of survival, the memories of his family in a way that he very movingly approved of. For that, Howard Moody the composer and librettist deserves limitless credit, for it was his idea and his composition that has brought Simon’s story into this community in this way.

I’ve been involved in some cool stuff this year- a prom, played on a few Hollywood films etc and I’m happy to have done them all. Clearly there will be few events in any year like this one, and no one I ever meet will be like Simon. It has been an honour to be involved- I will never forget him, or this project.