May 14, 2002
MUSEUM JOINS WITH MEMOIRS PROJECT TO PRESERVE AND PUBLISH SURVIVOR WRITINGS
Washington, D.C. — The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project, an initiative of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, will be joining in a major initiative to make available survivor memoirs that have emerged from the Project, Museum Chairman Fred S. Zeidman announced today.
The Museum will publish 10 volumes, consisting of 12 memoirs, over the next three years, including three shorter manuscripts detailing the experiences of young women during the Holocaust that will be released in an anthology, according to Zeidman.
“We have a solemn obligation to the survivors to ensure that their experiences and their memories become an integral part of the historical record. The Holocaust must never be studied exclusively from the perspective of the perpetrators. Each survivor’s story is unique, and adds to our understanding, and the understanding of future generations, of the Holocaust,” said Wiesel, who serves as honorary chairman of the Memoirs Project and is founding Chairman of the Museum.
“There is no substitute for authentic testimony - the voices of the Holocaust, of the survivors themselves,” Zeidman said. “They are a living memorial, the historic witness, the moral voice that compels us to remember, to learn, and to pass the lessons on. As the Museum enters its second decade, our partnership with the Project provides an important opportunity to ensure that authenticity is preserved for and transmitted to future generations.”
More than 750 memoirs have been received in response to the initial call for manuscripts, according to Menachem Z. Rosensaft, director and editor in chief of the Project and a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. The Project, under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress, was launched in October 2000, with a $1 million grant from Random House, Inc., New York.
“We hope to publish as many memoirs as possible, either as separate volumes or in anthologies, and ultimately make all of them accessible for research by scholars and students of the Holocaust,” Rosensaft said. “Those chosen for initial publication represent a range of Holocaust-era experiences, including those in Western and Eastern Europe, ghettos and camps. The authors include Jews who were under both German and Soviet occupation, those who survived in hiding, and a Kindertransports refugee.”
The first memoirs scheduled for publication are:
“Against All Odds,” Adam Boren, Rumson, New Jersey. Boren survived the Soviet occupation in Bialistock; the Warsaw ghetto; and the Majdanek and Auschwitz death camps.
“Guarded by Angels,” Alan Elsner, Rockville, Maryland. Elsner recounts the Holocaust-era experiences of his father and uncle, under both the Nazi and Soviet occupation of Poland, in the Soviet Gulag, in the central Asian Caucuses, and in the Red Army.
“Sobibor,” Dov Freiberg, Ramlah, Israel. Freiberg is one of the very few survivors of the Sobibor death camp.
“Woman Courageous,” Hugo Holzmann, Solana Beach, California. Born in Germany in 1929, Holzmann relates his experiences and those of his mother, a convert to Judaism, during the war years.
“By Leaps and Bounds,” Margaret Lambert (nee Gretel Bergmann), Jamaica, New York. Lambert, who is featured in the Museum’s traveling exhibition THE NAZI OLYMPICS Berlin 1936, was an internationally acclaimed German-Jewish athlete who was refused a place on the 1936 German Olympic Team.
“Holding On,” Eva Nussbaum Soumerai, West Hartford, Connecticut. Soumerai, was sent from Nazi Germany to safety in England on a Kindertransport at the age of 13, describes her experiences there during the war and her return to Germany in 1945 as an Allied Civilian Employee.
“Simon’s Quest,” Simon Schweitzer, Ville St. Laurent, Canada. Schweitzer survived the Nazi concentration camps of Buzlau, Goerliz, Dora-Nordhausen, and Bergen-Belsen.
“Yesterday,” Hadassah Rosensaft, New York. A survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, Rosensaft, who died in 1997, kept 149 Jewish children alive in that camp from December 1944 until liberation in April 1945, served as the administrator of the Bergen-Belsen hospital after liberation, and became on of the leaders of the survivors in the British Zone of Germany. She was a founding member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
“Building from the Rubble,” Joseph Tenenbaum, Toronto, Canada. Tenenbaum survived the Zatorska, Plashow, and Wielichka/Mielec camps near Krakow, Poland, as well as Ebensee concentration camp in Germany.
Three shorter memoirs of women survivors will be published together in one volume: They are:
“My Escape into Prison and other Memories of a Stolen Youth,” Jane Lipski (nee Jadzia Szpiegelman, Tucson, Arizona. From Bendzin, Poland, Lipski survived on Aryan papers and escaped to Slovakia, only to be confined in Moscow’s notorious Lubianka prison.
“Survival,” Lotti Kahana-Aufleger, Mevasseret Tzion, Israel. Originally from Czernowitz, Romania, she survived in Transnistria.
“My First Life,” Isabelle Choko, Boulogne, France. She survived the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Bergen-Belsen.