Escaping shots

Her wrinkles disappear as she watches the film, shot on her birthday,
the ninetieth, spent among friends who persevered in
being alive

was her childhood really so happy, was it like the brilliance of stars,
“look”, she says, “everything falls, exactly like then,

Am I good enough for her?

suddenly the colors flee, black shot after black shot, “it was exactly
like this”, she says, “but no!” I say, “it’s a damaged copy,
a mistake”

your birthday was full of laughter (keeping tight
the lid over unspeakable memories)
how strange…

strange, I think, why now, in perfect peacetime,
before the first gunshot, that her world

She stares into the nothing, calm and undisturbed:

“How extraordinary. Where is everything?
where is the fountain and the shop,
the street and the…”

Judit Frigyesi Niran

Judit Frigyesi (Niran), is the daughter of survivors of the Shoah. Her father miraculously escaped from the labor camp, and although he had a Swedish pass, he barely managed to survive in hiding. Her mother and grandmother were wondering from one hiding place to another -- cellars, bombed out apartment, and yellow-star houses. Both parents were in Budapest at the moment of the liberation of the city. Most of her family – her grandfather, all great-grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles – were murdered. Frigyesi Niran is a teacher, musicologist and ethnomusicologist, professor of Bar Ilan University, Israel. Her musicological research includes composers of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries (Mendelssohn, Kurtág, Feldman), with focus on the music of Béla Bartók (her book "Béla Bartók and turn-of-the-century Budapest" was published by California University Press, 1998, reprint 2000). She taught numerous interdisciplinary courses that discussed how literature, theater, ritual practices, visual arts “converse” with one another and explain one another. She was the only scholar who systematically collected Jewish prayer chant in Communist Eastern Europe after the Holocaust among survivors of the Shoah. The focus of her research is the praying style – the musical language -- of the simple members and non-professional prayer leaders (ba’ale tefillah) of the traditional communities before WWII. The archive of her original ethnographic work (sound recordings, interviews, life-stories, catalogues and transcriptions) form part of the collection of the Sound Archive of the National Library, Israel. Apart from scholarly articles, she wrote the book "Writing on Water: The Sounds of Jewish Prayer" (CEU Press, 2018, appeared also in Hungarian translation and French translation is in progress). The book merges scholarship, ethnographic documentation, novel, art photography and poetry. She is also as a writer, poet and photographer, creator of installations, short films and multi-media projects. Her theatrical montage “Fleeting Resonances”, combining poetry, film, audio, field recordings and live performance, has been staged in Germany, Hungary, and Israel. She completed two short films in the genre of experimental documentary.