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Remembrance

The Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project

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Brother and sister Hilda (Glasberg) Shlick and Simon Glasberg, reunited 65 years after the HolocaustBrother and sister Hilda (Glasberg) Shlick and Simon Glasberg, reunited 65 years after the Holocaust
Family of actor Zisha Katz, reunited thanks to Page of Testimony submitted in his memoryFamily of actor Zisha Katz, reunited thanks to Page of Testimony submitted in his memory

“I have used the Pages of Testimony as a therapeutic tool since the mid-1990s. Helping survivors complete biographical information for each person they want to memorialize enables them to externalize their pain. Many also find some peace of mind by knowing they have fulfilled their “holy mission” to never let the world forget what happened to their murdered family members and friends.

Each page gives a name to a formerly anonymous victim and fulfills survivors’ responsibility to bear witness. These pages are stored in The Hall of Names - a paper cemetery - that provides a final resting place for their loved ones, and preserves their memory for future generations. In the words of one survivor: “It lessens my pain.”

Sometimes this process leads to a surprise discovery. For example, I helped the late Karol Weiner complete a Page of Testimony in 1999 as part of his healing process. This led to the reunification of his siblings after his death – the Schlick/ Glasberg reunion featured in your video. Heart-warming moments like these underscore the importance of this tool and inspire my on-going work with Holocaust survivors.”

“Most Holocaust survivors undertook a “holy mission” to never let the world forget what happened to their murdered family members and friends, and their destroyed communities. Some believe living with these memories, and associated pain, helps them remember their losses and honors their commitment to pass on this legacy. Consequently, many survivors resist working through their grief, losses, and guilt for having survived. They feel that letting go of their pain and suffering betrays their family and friends.  This responsibility is internalized and carried throughout their lives.

Survivors can fulfill their commitment in other ways that are less harmful to their well-being. I find helping survivors complete a Page of Testimony for each person they want to memorialize is an effective therapeutic tool. It allows them to externalize their pain and find some peace by knowing they have fulfilled their holy mission. These pages are placed in the Hall of Names in the Yad Vashem Museum. This paper cemetery provides a final resting place for their loved ones and preserves their memory for future generations. In the words of one survivor: “It lessens my pain.” [Excerpt from forthcoming book on empowering Holocaust survivors to cope with genocidal trauma by Myra Giberovitch.]

Myra Giberovitch, M.S.W.
Consultant and Therapist
Montreal, Canada


Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 11:29 AM
Subject: RE: Feedback on Pages of Testimony submitted

It is truly a labor of love and a privilege. I feel as if I'm playing a part in helping give the Victims somewhat of an extension to their lives in this world. It's an incredible feeling to realize that they would otherwise be completely forgotten and truly obliterated.

It is very time consuming when one tries to get detailed, accurate information. For example I estimate I spent 6-7 hours with the Kanners on three different occasions and yesterday, about two hours with the Schoenbrots, who gave 11 POT's. The provider's mind wanders in memories and one must help them focus. The dialog is always very delicate as its often very painful for the provider, so one must proceed slowly to gain their trust and put them at ease.

I think this is the most meaningful and rewarding thing I have ever done in my life!. I wish I could do it full time.

Best regards,
Bill


To: 'cynthiawroclawski@yadvashem.org.il'
Subject: Bar/Bat-Mitzvah Holocaust Memorial Project of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre (Canada)

Dear Ms. Wroclawski,

My son, a namesake of my grandfather, Michael, a Holocaust victim, twinned for his Bar-Mitzvah with a Holocaust child, Yitzchak Yaakov Dragun. Yitzchak Yaakov lived in the town of Zuromin, Poland, the same town in which my grandfather had lived and perished in a concentration camp without ever having a Bar Mitzvah. I wondered if perhaps this boy and/or his family had known my grandfather and even my late father.  

Using the online Database, I found the name of the district in which Zuromin was located and the Page of Testimony for Yitzchak Yaakov Dragun.  According to Yad Yashem, both his parents and a sister had perished with him. A friend in Israel looked up the family name and discovered a surviving brother and his family. He sent them material from the Bar-Mitzvah and they immediately phoned me.  The surviving brother, now 86 years old, while overjoyed that his late, little brother had been commemorated, was too overcome with emotion to speak with me.  I did, however, speak with both his daughter and his wife.  Out of five siblings, two brothers had survived the War and settled in Israel. The Dragun family later sent a gift to my son, Mikey, and put us in touch with others who had lived in Zuromin.  As I had hoped, some of these survivors had known my grandfather. They sent me the Yizkor book of Zuromin which mentions my grandfather’s house, used as Nazi headquarters by the Germans.  We also received a family portrait of the entire Dragun family, taken just before the outbreak of the War, and sent to a distant cousin in South America.  By this circuitous route, we are now able to put a face to the name of this boy, and to see him as flesh and blood, rather than a name or a number.

In closing, I would like you to know that my daughter, Gabrielle, who is to be Bat-Mitzvahed next spring, has agreed to twin her ceremony with Yitzchak Yaakov’s late sister, who also died in the Shoah. This unique program has bridged continents, generations and time itself, ensuring that records and memories become the very fabric of the here and now.  The Jewish family lives on.

Sincerely Yours,
Sarah Michaela Reingewirtz (Samra)


To: 'cynthiawroclawski@yadvashem.org.il'
Subject: Bar/Bat-Mitzvah Holocaust Memorial Project of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre (Canada)

Dear Ms. Wroclawski,

My son, a namesake of my grandfather, Michael, a Holocaust victim, twinned for his Bar-Mitzvah with a Holocaust child, Yitzchak Yaakov Dragun. Yitzchak Yaakov lived in the town of Zuromin, Poland, the same town in which my grandfather had lived and perished in a concentration camp without ever having a Bar Mitzvah. I wondered if perhaps this boy and/or his family had known my grandfather and even my late father.

Using the online Database, I found the name of the district in which Zuromin was located and the Page of Testimony for Yitzchak Yaakov Dragun.  According to Yad Yashem, both his parents and a sister had perished with him. A friend in Israel looked up the family name and discovered a surviving brother and his family. He sent them material from the Bar-Mitzvah and they immediately phoned me.  The surviving brother, now 86 years old, while overjoyed that his late, little brother had been commemorated, was too overcome with emotion to speak with me.  I did, however, speak with both his daughter and his wife.  Out of five siblings, two brothers had survived the War and settled in Israel. The Dragun family later sent a gift to my son, Mikey, and put us in touch with others who had lived in Zuromin.  As I had hoped, some of these survivors had known my grandfather. They sent me the Yizkor book of Zuromin which mentions my grandfather’s house, used as Nazi headquarters by the Germans.  We also received a family portrait of the entire Dragun family, taken just before the outbreak of the War, and sent to a distant cousin in South America.  By this circuitous route, we are now able to put a face to the name of this boy, and to see him as flesh and blood, rather than a name or a number.

In closing, I would like you to know that my daughter, Gabrielle, who is to be Bat-Mitzvahed next spring, has agreed to twin her ceremony with Yitzchak Yaakov’s late sister, who also died in the Shoah. This unique program has bridged continents, generations and time itself, ensuring that records and memories become the very fabric of the here and now.  The Jewish family lives on.

Sincerely Yours,

Sarah Michaela Reingewirtz (Samra)


To: feedback@yadvashem.org.il
Subject: Database of Names

I am a 35 year old lawyer in Toronto and have just spent an hour using the Database of Names.  I have to admit that my hands were shaking as I typed in the last names of my family and their towns in Poland.  It was an extremely moving experience to see my family history located in the database.  In most cases the information is from testimony given by friends or neighbours whom I don’t know and dates from the mid 1950’s, so it is certainly more current than the information I get from my 88 year old Zayde – the only one left from that generation.

It is a wonderful thing you have done – not only keeping the memories alive, but allowing those of us far away to look back into those memories that are quickly fading.  I am still shaking a bit as I write this e-mail to you.

Orie H. Niedzviecki

Toronto, Canada


To: feedback@yadvashem.org.il
Subject: Thanks...

To whom it may concern,

Thanks for the initiative of putting Holocaust victims' names in an online searchable archive.

A truly magnificent effort.

With best regards,

Piotr Wisniewski

Warsaw, Poland


To: feedback@yadvashem.org.il
Subject: The Central Database

Ladies and Gentleman,

Just want to take a moment to thank you for your outstanding work on making this information available on a web site. To my knowledge we do not have any ancestors who were victimized in the Holocaust however, I am delighted to be able to access so many stories of those who were. I share them with my children and help them to see what was done and hopefully help them to become part of the solution to make sure that this NEVER happens again to anyone's family.  My deepest appreciation and congratulations!

Most Sincerely,
Kim Inks
Lindon, UT


To: feedback
Subject: Thank You

Thank you for compiling the database of Holocaust victims names.  I was able to confirm all that had been handed down from one generation to another by finding relatives listed here.

This is an awesome project because no one should ever forget.

Thank you again,

Lee Ann
Sontheimer Murphy


To: feedback
Subject: thanks

Often, when I think of the Holocaust, I conjure up images of emaciated people in striped prison uniforms. 

These people are easy to put in a box. I see images of ghastly executions, but they are of these "boxed people."

Your site shows people before they have spent months in a camp.  It shows people who look like, well, just folks, which is the reality of the situation.  Thanks for bringing that home.

Yvonne

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