The watchword of Holocaust lessons is, “Never Forget.” But once there are no longer survivors to recount their personal stories, what then?
Two Emmy-winning television producers from Los Angeles, Amber Howell and Janice Engel, and New York based photojournalist Josh Rothstein came to Hampton Roads in March of 2010 to extensively interview and film survivors David Katz, Dana Cohen, Hanns Loewenbach, and Kitty Saks. Using new and archival footage, as well as photos of all of the artifacts and memorabilia the four still had from their Holocaust experiences, they created four short films, one based on each survivor’s experiences and reflections.
Sadly, because David Katz and Hanns Loewenbach both passed away in January 2012, What We Carry could not have come at a better time. Until they literally no longer could, they repeatedly shared with others the often terrible realities of their experiences during the Holocaust, to teach the message that Hanns stated so brilliantly: “Evil does not need your help; just your indifference.”
Trained volunteer docents now present the films to schools, community groups, and military audiences, in combination with a suitcase filled with replicas of their treasures, created by graphic designer and artist Perry Deglandon.
Three new local What We Carry stories are currently in production, based on a survivor, a concentration camp liberator, and a Righteous Gentile. These will be available for presentation in the fall of 2016.
A traveling version of the program is also available to educators outside the local area. Contact the Holocaust Commission for scheduling.
The program has been presented at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the Virginia Conference of Social Studies Educators, and the International Conference at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Since the Holocaust Commission began presenting the program in the fall of 2011, over 18,000 people have experienced it. Your group can too!
Contact the Holocaust Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a presentation.
Below is a trailer for the program that combines parts of all four individual stories, each of which has its own unique What We Carry presentation.
Stories of our What We Carry Survivors
What We Carry in the News
The Virginian-Pilot, Aug 7, 2011: Voices of Hampton Roads Holocaust Survivors Saved
The Virginian-Pilot, Mar 24, 2012: Holocaust Documentary Features Local Survivors
Jewish News, Mar 5, 2012: Area Premiere of What We Carry Documentary
Regent University, Jan 21, 2013: "What We Carry" Shares Holocaust Survivor's Story
Jewish News, September 5, 2014: Optimism and uncertainty made July visit to Israel: Sunny, with a Chance of Rockets