On January 25 at the United Nations in New York, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute hosted a reception for the opening of Generations: Survival and the Legacy of Hope, a video installation which explores the impact of the Holocaust on four families across three generations. Generations was developed by the UK Holocaust Centre.
The opening of the Generations exhibit is one of several events occurring at the United Nations in observance of the 2010 International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust; the theme of this year’s observance is “Holocaust Remembrance: the Legacy of Survival.”
In Generations, three generations of the Oppenheimer, Wallfisch, Helfglott and Halter families discuss the effects of the Holocaust on their own lives and on the world in which we all live today.
“How is it possible that someone can witness the worst side of humanity and still not lose hope? Where did survivors find the strength to start over again, and the courage to raise families in the aftermath of all they experienced? How are memories transferred across generations, and what responsibility do the children and grandchildren of survivors have as the inheritors of those memories? These are some of the questions that Generations explores,” said USC Shoah Foundation Institute Executive Director Stephen Smith, who came to the Institute after serving as founding director of the UK Holocaust Centre.
Holocaust survivors Reli and Joseph Gringlas spoke at the opening reception, as did their daughter, Marcy Gringlas, and their granddaughter, Sara Greenberg. “…with me not only lives the legacy of my grandparents,” Sara said, “but also all those who perished around them: the great-grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, the cousins, and the 6 million others who did not make it out alive…. My generation is probably the last generation to be able to hear our grandparents’ survival stories firsthand. We are heirs to their memories, their stories, and their witness testimonies, and we inherit the burden of keeping their legacy alive forever.” Sara also showed a clip from her short documentary, B-2247: A Granddaughter's Understanding, which she produced with footage from the interviews her grandparents’ gave to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, independent interviews that Greenberg and her siblings conducted, and footage from a 2005 family trip through Eastern Europe, revisiting the locales of her grandparents' childhoods.
The Generations video installation will be in the lobby of the United Nations and open to the public through the end of February 2010.
Developed by the UK Holocaust Centre, Generations is based on a multimedia exhibit called Davka: The Survival of a People.™
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute has been working with the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme since it was established in 2006. One of their first joint activities was to develop an online educational resource to assist in the development of educational curricula on the Holocaust. This pedagogical tool, the “Electronic Notes for Speakers,” incorporates survivor testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute with historical background and lesson plans from the archives of Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Israel. The Electronic Notes help the students to better understand the human dimension of this tragedy and the lessons that can be applied to help prevent grave violence today. In addition, in 2007, two of the Institute’s documentary films, Volevo solo vivere (I Only Wanted to Live) and Nazvy svoi im’ia (Spell Your Name), were screened for the diplomatic community and United Nations staff as part of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information, was established by General Assembly resolution 60/7 to encourage education about and remembrance of the Holocaust. The multifaceted programme organizes special events, seminars and training programmes and produces a variety of information materials on the Holocaust and genocide prevention. Please visit the programme's website for further information and to download the materials. Contact Kimberly Mann, Manager, The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 212-963-6835.