Posts Tagged 'holocaust'

We Will Never Forget. Thanks to Holocaust Survivors.

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Why should that matter to me, a non-Jewish  guy?

I am often reminded of the poem used by many students I coached in National History Day many years ago as part of various projects about the Holocaust.

First They Came for the Jews
by Martin Niemöller

“First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”

I learned about the power and courage of many Holocaust survivors because of the research of various students as part of the National History Day program many years ago.  In addition, my daughter participated in the program. She and her partner learned about Raoul Wallenberg when they were sophomores in high school in 2008.  They created a documentary that described how Raoul Wallenberg rescued Jewish people from Budapest, Hungary which can be seen on YouTube: “Standing in the Face of Madness: Raoul Wallenberg’s Fight to Save the Jews“.  During that project and many other projects like it, students viewed Holocaust Survivor stories compiled by the Shoah Foundation at USC and searched for survivors they could interview in person.

One person my daughter and her partner found was Lola Kristof who lived in San Francisco. Lola was rescued by Wallenberg in Budapest in 1944 or 1945. She and her husband, who was also a Holocaust survivor, eventually moved to San Francisco. Lola’s story was part of a display at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center in the fall. Lola’s daughter tracked down my daughter and invited us to view the exhibit. Although  my daughter was not able to visit, I decided that visiting the exhibit was important. In visiting with Lola’s daughter, Patricia Kristof Loy, at the exhibit, I learned that her mother never got around to being recorded by the Shoah Foundation. However, she was recorded by two 16-year-old girls as part of a History Day Project. It turns out, that the video interview about being rescued by Raoul Wallenberg was the only time that Lola allowed her story to be recorded. And the resulting video is now kept as a memory for Lola’s offspring (Lola passed away several years ago). Here is a picture of Lola Kristof as she looked during the interview in 2008.

Photo Nov 23, 12 10 11 PM

I have visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. many times, but the personal interview with Lola Kristof and other survivors like her are reasons for me to remember today; and to never forget the 6 million Jewish men, women and children who sadly perished during the Holocaust and World War II. In hopes that history will not repeat itself and that we will speak out against injustices against any people.

 

 

Here I am with Patricia Kristof Loy in 2013 visiting the exhibit in San Francisco.

Photo Nov 23, 11 57 11 AM

 

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