In the 1980s, Geoffrey Hartman helped establish the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, a Yale-based collection of videotaped Holocaust testimonies he continues to head. The archive preceded Spielberg's Shoah Visual History Foundation by more than a decade.
"Write and record," historian Simon Dubnow urged his fellow Jews, as he was taken to his death in Riga. Over the decades since Dubnow's murder in 1941, many have taken his words to heart, and scholars, survivors, novelists, poets, members of the second and third generations continue to publish new work on the Holocaust. This season, in time for the commemoration of Yom HaShoah, there are impressive historical works, memoirs of lost childhoods, personal testimonies and artful works of fiction; many written by those who feel an obligation to those whose voices were stilled.
Like everyone else, I used to divide the prostitutes smuggled into Israel from the former Soviet republics into two categories -- the good ones who were tricked into it, and the bad ones who knew what they were getting into.
I think differently now. After meeting one of the "bad" ones for a story I'm doing, I see them all, both the knowing and unknowing, as victims, as innocents.
As a child at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, Marion Blumenthal Lazan spent hours looking for four identical pebbles inside her shabby living quarters.
You know me, Rabbi. You know how important thesynagogue is to me, how much I enjoy services; you see me at yourTorah classes. You know what kind of Jew I am: I am the only one atthe family seder table who can read the Hebrew side of the Haggadah,but they won't accept me, because I wasn't born Jewish!"
Every rabbi has heard these painfultestimonies.