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Robert Levin (1912 - 1996)



"15 years ago I came across my family tree at my parents’ home. I discovered some family documents which enabled me to trace my family’s history back to the 13th century Sepharad (the Hebrew name for Spain). The majority of the Spanish Jews, approximately 200,000, were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition in 1492. They ended up in North Africa, Italy, Turkey, Poland and elsewhere throughout Europe.


Jews were forced to convert to Christianity. They became known as “Maranos”. Those who did not convert were killed. After the expulsion, the Spanish authorities imposed an unofficial ban against Jews from ever living in Spain again. It was by chance that these family documents were preserved during the Holocaust by distant relatives in Switzerland.


Based on my personal, immediate and distant family history and genealogical findings, I have developed a solo performance piece around my family tree. I have used my family history as a theme for two of my concerts, one given in Warsaw and the other in New York. The whole idea of the piece was to tell my complex and multifaceted family story, and by doing that, perhaps also telling everyone else’s."


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