Bridging the gap between students and Holocaust survivors

“We always hear the stories of Holocaust survivors but we never had the opportunity to actually talk to them, to ask in-depth questions that we wanted to ask,” says an eight-grade student.

January 28, 2015 01:39
2 minute read.
A STUDENT HANDS a flower to a Holocaust survivor yesterday at Tel Aviv Port.

A STUDENT HANDS a flower to a Holocaust survivor yesterday at Tel Aviv Port.. (photo credit: KFIR SIVAN)


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Some 2,000 students and Holocaust survivors from across the country gathered at the Tel Aviv Port on Tuesday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The conference, “To Remember and Grow,” was initiated by Marine Trust Ltd., which manages the port, in collaboration with the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel. The aim of the gathering, taking place for the second time, was to create an intergenerational get-together between youth and Holocaust survivors.

“As a place of historical importance [as] the first Hebrew port, we attach great importance to activities with special communities who participated in Jewish history and the establishment of the country,” said Yehuda Zafrani, chairman of the board of the Marine Trust and initiator of the conference.

Within the conference framework, students from Tel Aviv Municipal High School H prepared and screened a short film featuring their interviews with Holocaust survivors.

“We always hear the stories of Holocaust survivors but we never had the opportunity to actually talk to them, to ask in-depth questions that we wanted to ask,” Idan Naor, an eighth-grade student and one of the interviewers in the film, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.

Some 20 students participated in the documentary, the culmination of months of training and research for their film class project. The movie tells the story of the rehabilitation and aliya to Israel of three Holocaust survivors.

“This was the first time I ever interviewed someone; I was nervous and I had a lot of questions to ask him,” said Naor of the experience.

“It was very emotional, everyone in the room teared up, it was hard not to cry,” he said.

“To be honest, I was really sad when the interview was over and he left – I wanted to keep talking to him.”

The student added that as long as there are still people alive who can relate first-hand accounts of what happened, “it’s important to talk to them and hear their stories.”

Tom Gordon, another student interviewer in the film and Naor’s classmate, said it was the first time the two of them, and other students, had met and conversed with survivors.

“In ceremonies at school we read from text. I had a lot of questions and after a short while I put the text and my prepared questions aside and just asked him what as in my head,” Gordon said. “We had a great conversation and talked about everything for over two hours.”

The interaction between the students and the survivors was a unique and valuable experience for the youth, and one of the main goals of the conference, according to Tal Oren, CEO of Marine Trust.

“The Tel Aviv Port, as its flagship, aims to impart a constant custom for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, initiating meetings with youth from across the country for the continuity of tradition and passing on the torch.”

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