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November 3, 2023

Concert: The Diplomatic Choir of Berlin with refugee musicians from Ukraine

The soaring voices of the The Diplomatic Choir of Berlin and several featured Ukrainian singers filled the Rotes Rathaus with joy and inspiration Thursday night. Displaced by Putin’s brutal war of aggression against their country, these talents brought the audience deep into the heart of Ukraine, each song striking notes of hope, unity, and determination. The U.S. Embassy Berlin proudly supported this event to show that we will continue to #StandWithUkraine, together with Germany and other Allies and partners, to ensure Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself, to recover and rebuild, and to thrive. Slava Ukraini!
We are grateful to the Governing Mayor and the Senate of Berlin/Senatskanzlei Berlin, the Ukrainische Botschaft in Berlin and, above all, to the Diplomatic Choir of Berlin for giving the U.S. Embassy Berlin an opportunity to partner with them on this program.

Welcome remarks

Counselor for Public Engagement (as prepared for delivery)
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my gratitude to the Governing Mayor and the Senate of Berlin, the Ukrainian Embassy and, above all, to the Diplomatic Choir of Berlin for giving the U.S. Embassy an opportunity to partner with them on tonight’s program.

I am very honored to join Minister-Counsellor Maksym Yemelianov and the members of the diplomatic community at this concert.

Several countries that are represented here tonight are part of a large international coalition that has stood up and stood together to provide unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine.

Some 50 nations of goodwill from around the world have rallied to commit more than $75 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine, with the United States as the leading provider and Germany the second-biggest provider of security assistance to Ukraine, providing $5.7 billion in 2023 alone. We very much welcome Germany’s additional $1.1 billion in additional assistance announced last month.

The United States will continue to work with Germany and our other Allies and partners to support Ukraine as long as it takes. We will ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself, to recover and rebuild, and to thrive.

Let us be clear: Our combined support is in no way equal to the enormous sacrifices that Ukraine continues to bear. It is a tough battle, and Ukraine’s soldiers are fighting bravely every single day, and they continue to inspire the world with their bravery and courage.

In this time when peace, liberty, and democracy are under attack in too many parts of the world, it is moving to attend an event like this that is a manifestation of our togetherness. We will continue to stand with Ukraine and with Israel, because as President Biden recently said,

“Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”

We are supporting two security partners as they face incredibly challenging but distinct conflicts. We can and must do both. The cost of inaction would be much higher and more costly.

Barbara Leifer, you have our greatest respect for the work you and the Diplomatic Choir Berlin are doing to lift up Ukrainian voices in such a powerful way. We are happy to have the privilege to support yet another upcoming concert by the Diplomatic Choir – another Concert for Ukraine – at the Dresden Kreuzkirche on Saturday, November 11.

Let’s now hear “Kiddush” by Kurt Weill. It was the first synagogue piece to be written in an American popular style and is an amalgam of Germanic stoicism, American blues, and Broadway pop harmony.

Thank you everyone for coming.

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