"...thou shalt not be a bystander" ― Yehuda Bauer
December 17, 2015 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Hollywood's Last Survivors

The Holocaust ended 70 years ago. To honor this anniversary The Hollywood Reporter set out to find and interview every living Holocaust survivor with entertainment industry connections. Over a seven month period, they discovered only 11 people who lived through the Shoah who remain from the world of entertainment, including Oscar winners, actors, Dr. Ruth and even Judy Garland's hairstylist.

Their personal stories were documented in video interviews. Why? The window for hearing these stories is about to close: it is estimated that fewer than 100,000 survivors are still alive around the world and that number is declining quickly.

One of the interviews is with Dario Gabbai, a Greek survivor who is the last living Sonderkommando.

The USC Shoah Foundation was founded by Stephen Spielberg. It is "dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides a compelling voice for education and action." To date, they have archived 53,000 testimonials. Related educational website is iWitness.
"The act of absorbing history often requires peering backward and forward at once. What happened during the Nazis’ reign is a piece of history that cannot be allowed to die. But these 11 narratives also offer uncomfortably contemporary lessons. Think of Rwanda, Sudan, Syria, even the surge of xenophobia after Paris and San Bernardino. Genocide. Wide-scale displacement. Venomous political rhetoric. The world needs a constant reminder of what unchecked hatred and state-sponsored violence and nationalistic apathy breed: the worst kinds of human misery.

That’s why these testimonials matter so much. These 11 men and women have suffered an atrocity and yet all speak of hope, love, forgiveness — and responsibility. As Ruth Westheimer, who was orphaned by the Holocaust, says, “People like me need to stand up and be counted to help repair the world.”
posted by zarq (3 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
It's good to see that Clary is still alive; he came to my high school in Chicago around thirty-five years ago to talk about his experiences, and left many students in tears. I'm also kind of flabbergasted that Dr. Ruth Westheimer trained as a sniper, even though she was only 4'7".
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:56 PM on December 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

Happy to see Dr. Ruth is still with us :) I used to listen to her as a young ogre (what were these things?!?) when the atmospheric conditions were right and the KFI signal would bounce up to the Bay Area from LA. Certainly one of the stranger voices to pull from the aether.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:13 PM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is really excellent. If you can, do watch the videos. They're… really something.

Thanks, zarq.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:56 PM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

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