USC Shoah Foundation, The Willesden Project Launch Music Dreams Animated Short

Fri, 12/10/2021 - 10:11am

USC Shoah Foundation and The Willesden Project today launch the premiere of Music Dreams, an animated short film story telling the story of Lisa Jura, a young Holocaust survivor who in 1938 escaped from Vienna to London on the Kindertransport.

A series of rescue efforts organized by Sir Nicholas Winton, the Kindertransport helped nearly 10,000 Jewish children escape from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia to safety in the United Kingdom.

The release coincides with the day in 1938 that Lisa boarded a Kindertransport train from Vienna to London, the first step in a journey that would be memorably depicted by her daughter Mona Golabek in the acclaimed The Children of Willesden Lane books.

“It’s wonderful to see my mother’s message of music as a source of resilience and strength brought to life so poetically for young children,” Golabek said. “The film connects us all—across generations, time, and experiences.”

Another new resource of The Willesden Project—a partnership of USC Shoah Foundation, Hold On To Your Music and the Koret Foundation—Music Dreams was produced for children ages 5-7 and is the latest in a suite of innovative testimony-based educational offerings.

The Willesden Project is designed to further the mission of education through testimony and bring the power of music and story to young people globally to contribute to their development as empathetic, knowledgeable and resilient individuals.

Set in 2021, Music Dreams centers on a lonely boy, a refugee who is separated from his family. Lying awake at night, he finds a piece of mysterious old sheet music that whisks him to late-1930s Europe, where he meets Lisa, a young aspiring pianist. The boy accompanies Lisa as she travels via the Kindertransport to London, where she finds a home at a hostel on Willesden Lane and pursues her dream of becoming a concert pianist.

Music Dreams is premiering in collaboration with The Conscious Kid through a new partnership that is leveraging the power of story to help elementary age students become more socially aware and sensitive to the feelings of others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

“We are excited to partner with USC Shoah Foundation to premiere Music Dreams” said Ramon Stephens, Executive Director of The Conscious Kid. “We hope that families and educators can use it as a valuable entry point for educating young children about the Holocaust, refugee experiences and the power of music to provide hope, healing and resilience.”

Lesly Culp, Head of Programs in Education at USC Shoah Foundation, explained why she hopes Music Dreams will be universally accessible.

“While the animated short has no dialogue, the beautiful storytelling captured through music, emotions, and imagination, draws viewers in. The powerful message of love and separation, as well as the indubitable power of music, will resonate with students from all backgrounds around the world,” she said.

Music Dreams is available on 12/10 at