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Auschwitz was one of five death camps established by the Nazis in Poland where Jews were taken to be murdered during the so-called “Final Solution,” a euphemism for the their genocide. We know it through the horrific photos of trains filled with Jews, of men being split from women, parents from children, of the uniformed Nazi wagging his finger, and of the brick chimneys billowing smoke. But there is a much more intimate story still to be heard.
Auschwitz70, PastisPresent, holocaust memorial day, op-eds / Tuesday, January 27, 2015
“My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. And I am Jewish.” Those were the words I kept repeating to myself as I boarded my flight from JFK to attend the 70th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Auschwitz70, memory, anti-semitism, past is present, op-eds, antiSemitism / Thursday, February 5, 2015
Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Warsaw and Krakow with USC Shoah Foundation’s mission to Poland for the Auschwitz: Past is Present program, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. I had many unforgettable experiences throughout these four days traveling and meeting incredible people who are all interested in the work of USC Shoah Foundation and its mission of changing the world through testimony.
Auschwitz70, past is present, Remembrance, op-eds / Tuesday, February 10, 2015
I expected to feel an intimate and profound connection to Auschwitz after touring the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum for the first time late last month. After three consecutive days visiting and working at the museum, I was indeed moved. But the insight I was hoping for came from beyond the well-worn paths of tourists, from a source that hits close to home here at USC Shoah Foundation.
Auschwitz70, past is present, op-eds / Thursday, February 12, 2015
As I completed the transaction for my first foray with Airbnb for a trip to Paris with my daughter, I was pleasantly surprised by the note that popped up from Christophe, the manager, who alerted me that I could also have a ride from the airport with Karyn with whom he has an arrangement.
Paris, past is present, op-eds / Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Auschwitz, the final destination of Jewish people from across Europe destined to be murdered as a part of the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Auschwitz, a place that housed prisoners of many religions, persuasions, minorities and nationalities, but whose evil reputation is seared onto our collective conscience because the five gas chambers at Birkenau were there for one reason only - to devour the lives of 960,000 Jews. Auschwitz, which has evolved into a universal symbol of man's inhumanity to man – and indeed it does remind us just how cruel human beings can be.
Auschwitz70, op-eds, antiSemitism / Wednesday, February 25, 2015
When I met Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor in January, she was dozing on a chair that doubles as her walker, wearing a contented smile while a flurry of activity buzzed around her.
Auschwitz70, eva kor, op-eds / Friday, February 27, 2015
We are hiding from the fact that subsequent to Haman, Hitler was successful in carrying out the genocide of the Jews and the survivors of the Holocaust are better examples than Mordechai or Esther.
purim, op-eds, antiSemitism / Thursday, March 5, 2015
On March 8, 2015 there will be events all over the world celebrating the achievements of women for International Women’s Day. This year’s theme Make it Happen encourages action for advancing women’s rights and also recognizing the incredible and courageous work women do in various industries throughout the world.
international womens day, Womens Day, #IWD2015, Womens History Month, résistance, op-eds / Friday, March 6, 2015
In February, I participated in an international conference titled Are we losing memory? Forgotten sites of Nazi forced labor in Central Europe. The event organized by the Terezin Initiative Institute and the North Bohemian Museum in Liberec brought together educators, researchers, archeologists and other experts from the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany to examine the disconnect between history of forced labor and regional history caused by the ethnic cleansing and population transfers after WWII in regions that were part of the German Reich.
op-eds / Monday, March 9, 2015
What does it mean to live 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz in a world in deep crisis? What does it mean with all we know about the damage that hatred causes – after all the pain we have gone through – that we are hurtling out of control into an inferno of rage that takes us right back to where we started? Why are survivors of the Holocaust who walked out of the camps with at least the hope that their own suffering was not in vain, dying disappointed?
anti-semitism, action, beginswithme, GAM, résistance, op-eds, antiSemitism / Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The Holocaust collection in USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive contains nearly 53,000 testimonies; however, only a mere six of those testimonies are from survivors who were persecuted by the Nazis for being gay: one in English, three in German, one in French, and one in Dutch. There are other gay survivors we have in the Archive, but they were persecuted by the Nazis for the greater sin of being Jewish; Gad Beck being one of them. The meager number says a lot about the history of the gay men who lived through the Nazi regime and who came out the other end willing and unafraid to speak about their lives.
GAM, homosexuality, holocaust, homosexual, gay, survivor, Albrecht Becker, paragraph 175, gay pride, op-eds / Tuesday, March 24, 2015
You never know what you are going to discover in the Visual History Archive. Each one of the 53,000 testimonies in the Archive tells a different story of life before, during and after the individual’s experience with genocide.
Woman in Gold, art, Austria, law, Maria Altmann, op-eds / Thursday, April 2, 2015
Over the last few days I’ve overheard my grandmother and father talk endlessly about Celia Tiano, an Auschwitz survivor from Salonika, Greece, their next-door neighbor on 7th Avenue -- a quiet block in the Hyde Park area of L.A., during the 1950s and 60s. After more than 40 years, my family has reconnected with Celia -- through testimony. We were able to make this connection because of a film project I had been working on for the Student Voices Short Film Contest.
Celia Tiano, auschwitz, student voices, discovery, op-eds / Friday, April 3, 2015
Music is the purest form of communication. It transcends language and ignores the passage of time. It can be euphoric and elegiac, subtle and sublime. It joyously welcomes life and mournfully greets death. It can provide glimmers of hope and comfort in a world devoid of hope and comfort.
days of remembrance, comcast, Xfinity, op-eds / Wednesday, April 15, 2015
For two full days in June 2010, while the camera was rolling in Thousand Oaks in the Hagopian’s living room, I had the privilege of being behind the camera while the late Jacob Michael Hagopian was in front of it -- the whole time.
Armenian Genocide, Armenian Genocide Testimony Collection, Michael Hagopian, GAM, op-eds / Thursday, April 23, 2015
Thousands of people came to Times Square on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and to demand the U.S. government recognize the slaughter of 1.5 million people as genocide. In a speech at the event, USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith said that the world must stand together speak for those who are not here to speak for themselves.
Armenian Genocide, GAM, op-eds / Tuesday, April 28, 2015
I participated in an event in April called Survivor Voices. We were six panelists from Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, two Holocaust survivors and an Armenian-American priest.
genocide awareness month, Rwanda Genocide, GAM, op-eds, cagr / Monday, May 4, 2015
Edith Umugiraneza was born and raised in Rwanda and survived the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide but lost most of her family including her mother. Edith wrote this poem not only as an ode to her mother but as a promise to continue her mother's work of helping others.
Mother's Day, memory, Rwandan Genocide, op-eds / Thursday, May 7, 2015
Stefan (Teofil) Kosinski’s testimony is the only English-language testimony we have in the Visual History Archive from a homosexual survivor, which is also remarkable for the fact that Stefan is not a native English speaker.
GAM, gay, homosexuality, holocaust, homosexual, paragraph 175, gay rights, Gay Pride Month, gay pride, op-eds / Monday, May 18, 2015
The school I teach at in Alberta, Canada, is considered a "unique setting" within our public school system. This means that our programming is designed to meet the complex learning, social and emotional needs of elementary children who exhibit extreme behavioral and emotional difficulties which impede their ability to be successful in school, community and home.
past is present, Holocaust education, Teaching with Testimony, iwitness, Paula Lebovics, Twitter, op-eds / Wednesday, June 3, 2015
What makes Gad Beck’s story so remarkable, however, was that not only was he a “Mischling” but he was also a gay teenager living in Nazi Berlin, the epicenter of a military power antagonistic to both Jews and gays.
homosexuality, holocaust, paragraph 175, gay, homosexual, gay rights, gay pride, résistance, op-eds / Monday, June 15, 2015
Film composer James Horner died when his single-engine plane crashed near Santa Barbara on June 22. Earlier this year, the Academy Award-winner worked with USC Shoah Foundation on a movie about a Holocaust survivor. These are the recollections of producer Leslie Wilson.
One Day in Auschwitz, James Horner, op-eds / Sunday, June 28, 2015
Doris Lazarus is a docent at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, the first institution to pilot New Dimensions in Testimony (NDT), a collaboration between USC Shoah Foundation and USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), in partnership with concept developer Conscience Display.
New Dimensions in Testimony, Pinchas Gutter, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, op-eds / Wednesday, July 8, 2015
I first met Sir Nicholas Winton when he had reached the mere age of 87. He was curious to learn about the UK Holocaust Centre, which our family had opened in Nottinghamshire. Winton was intrigued to learn that a non-Jewish family established the center, which resonated with his own ethics, as a Holocaust rescuer who saved 669 Jewish children by organizing the Czechoslovakian Kindertransport.
Nicholas Winton, kindertransport, op-eds / Tuesday, July 14, 2015
During the 1960s, the Guatemalan government unleashed a war against various small guerilla groups across the country. This so-called “internal conflict” turned into a 36-year genocide against Mayan populations.
Guatemala, GAM, cagr, op-eds, cagr / Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Time and again, we at USC Shoah Foundation witness how young people strive to make a difference. From middle school students to college graduates, we’ve had the pleasure to work with people inspired by testimony in the Visual History Archive. These young people are creating change and developing plans to improve their own communities.
Youth Day, op-eds / Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The President of the Republic went on record to tell the prospective immigrants “nobody invited you here!” Refugees escaping from a murderous regime are regarded as agents of that very regime. Concerned citizens who never saw a refugee discuss them with great fear: refugees will take our jobs, kill our wives, rape our daughters. “We may take a few of those who can prove they are and always were Christians,” some interior ministry clerk declared.
Czech Republic, Refugee Crisis, World Refugee Day, op-eds / Monday, August 24, 2015
As I start a new school year in a new school teaching a new grade level, I find it slightly ironic that the first theme that my textbook series addresses is courage. As I start another school year, I have thought deeply about courage and mix of emotions that come into play that very first day of school. Many may not readily admit it, but the first day of the school year for both teachers and students is filled nervousness and unease. A first impression is extremely important, and a good first day can set the tone for a very productive school year.
education, back to school, iwitness, op-eds / Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Seeing new students starting their fall semester at USC – my recent alma mater – gives me a strange feeling. I have worked at USC Shoah Foundation during most of my career as an USC undergraduate student, and now I am about to step away from my favorite university and nonprofit organization. I’ve learned invaluable life lessons from video testimony as well as my wonderful coworkers.
op-eds / Wednesday, September 2, 2015