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The Children of Willesden Lane Projects Finding Leah Tickotsky


Hold On To Your Music has embarked on a campaign to further its mission through:

The Children of Willesden Lane Multi-Platform Public Media Project
Documentary for PBS
Radio Broadcast
Educational Outreach
Interactive Web Site
Live Theater Performances
Expanded Distribution of the Book

Finding Leah Tickotsky

Documentary Film for Domestic and International Release

Hold On To Your Music will present "I am a Pianist," the story of Lisa Jura and The Children of Willesden Lane in 2017. The 60-minute feature documentary is being produced in collaboration with KLCS/PBS and with major sponsorship from the Simms/Mann Institute.


Concert pianist Mona Golabek's mother was a refugee from Vienna, a piano prodigy who overcame overwhelming odds to become a performer and teacher who inspired all whom she met. This film chronicles Mona's journey to bring her mother's story to school children across America—from Birmingham, Alabama to her hometown of Los Angeles—glimpsing Mona on stage, in classrooms, at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and bringing messages of perseverance and understanding to enthusiastic young audiences, ulltimately creating a legacy that resonates in the lives and music of multiple generations today.


The film will also include interviews with surviving Kinder as well as excerpts from the Los Angeles performances at the Cortines High School for the Performing Arts in November 2014 for 10,000 Los Angeles Unified School District students and participation of the Colburn Youth Orchestra.

"I am a Pianist" will bring a unique look to the lessons of the Holocaust to students and audiences of the 21st Century.

KLCS logoSimms Mann logo

The kinderkids

Willesden Lane alumni with historic photographs

Additional funding has come from a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Claims Conference
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Syndicated Radio Broadcast

The WFMT Radio Network, the international syndicated division of award-winning classical music station 98.7WFT and one of the world’s most well-regarded sources for fine arts radio programming, will produce and distribute a 90 minute radio program recorded live during the upcoming Chicago WILLESDEN READ at the Harris Theater October 2015. The WFMT Radio Network will offer the program to its 700+ affiliates throughout the United States as well as satellite radio and in Europe through the European Broadcasting Union.

WMFT logo

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Educational Outreach

Mona Gobalek waving to students

“In all my years as an educator, I have never seen so many students anxious to ask questions about a book.” 
Christopher Mazzino
High school English teacher, Scranton, PA

IIn partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, USC Shoah Foundation, and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Hold on To Your Music has launched an expansive educational campaign designed around the message of The Children of Willesden Lane.

This campaign includes an organized city or all-school read of the book, The Children of Willesden Lane; preparatory training sessions for teachers; art, music and essay classroom activity programs; and the potential of a concert performance of Willesden Lane and classroom visits from Mona Golabek.

The suite of resources include the documentary, music, book and Teacher’s Resource made possible by the Milken Family Foundation, with videos produced by The Annenberg Foundation. The educational initiative teaches social studies, language arts, music and inter-disciplinary studies and reaches across grade levels, races, religions and academic disciplines, promoting acceptance between cultures and inspiring courage and hard work.

Teachers who’ve used The Children of Willesden Lane educational tools report that their students are learning they, too, can “hold on to their dreams” and go on to accomplish extraordinary things. Students facing some of the challenges that Lisa Just faced are motivated to overcome adversity- gorwing up without parents, dealing with prejudice, moving to another country.

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Public Media Initiative and Interactive Web Site

HOLD ON TO YOUR MUSIC is developing an extensive interactive web site to engage students in a multitude of projects and online interactions while building an online community around the WILLESDEN themes including

  1. Identity in a time of change.
  2. Being uprooted.
  3. Race and exclusion.
  4. The “universe of obligation”.
  5. The power of music to enable individuals to triumph over adversity, to relieve the suffering of oppressed people or to unite a community.
  6. Passion, perseverance, determination—the direction and flow of one's life toward a singular goal.
  7. Community—the love, respect, honor, for those around you; who you are in this world and how you live and communicate with others.
  8. Justice—the perceptions of right and wrong, duty a
  9. nd sacrifice—how you are treated and how you treat others; your prejudices and the prejudices of those around you. Personal expression --whether through literature, art, music or the teaching of these disciplines -- how they are achieved, communicated and recognized by society and internalized.

In collaboration with our partners—USC Shoah Foundation, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and Facing History and Ourselves, the HOTYMusic website will encourage and enable the Willesden community to share the personal dreams and stories of viewers, listeners, and web visitors moved by the message of Lisa Jura and Willesden Lane.

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Mona Gobalek with students in West VirginiaLive Theatrical Performances by Mona Golabek

The Pianist of Willesden Lane is directed and produced for live theater by the prolific actor/musician Hershey Felder, founder of Eighty-Eight Entertainment. Centered on Mona Golabek’s concert performance of some of the most revered music ever composed—Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Chopin, Greig, Beethoven and more—the theater version tells the story of Lisa Jura’s journey from Vienna to London to realize her musical dream and help her family to safety during World War II.


About the play


Expanded Distribution of the Book

The Children of Willesden Lane is in its eighth printing; recently it has been published in Britain and Australia. Hold On To Your Music will also pursue expanding international distribution of the book into schools and communities, including China and Israel. The Children of Willesden Lane was published in French by Hachette in 2014. Readers Digest has published abridged versions of the book for the adult market in German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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