Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, is this Sunday. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think about the Holocaust very often.
When I come across some literature, a news clip, a movie, obviously. I pause and take note. An extra moment to notice. To think. My heart skip a beat. My eyes tear up. And I always feel just a titch helpless. And then I move on.
This week I had the opportunity to screen a documentary about a community of Holocaust survivors who bought a bungalow colony in the Catskills called the Four Seasons Lodge to spend their summers together at each year. I was looking forward to seeing the film after my cousin sent me a link to the trailer. I knew exactly why she was so excited about it -- the survivors in the trailer acted and sounded exactly like our grandparents, Ben and Rose Berkenwald.
On November 6th, the Museum of Jewish Heritage will open the Keeping History Center, providing an interactive experience for New York visitors that allows them to record and add their own stories to the historical record. This project is near and dear to us at the Jewish Women's Archive, since we have worked since our start 13 years ago to record the untold and unheard stories of American Jewish women -- stories like the one shared in this podcast.
Last week I wrote about the death of a mysterisous 92 year-old homeless Holocaust surivor who left $100,000 to Hebrew University. I was incredibly troubled by the story, about how little was known about this woman, and about her story being lost forever. Today, we learned her story.
Today the Jerusalem Post reported that a homeless Holocaust survivor living in Manhattan passed away at the age of 92. She left $100,000 to Hebrew University, and $100,000 to the man who gave her a room in exchange for parking his car all over the city. She did not have any connections to Hebrew University, and according to the report, nothing else is known about her. Will we ever learn her name?
The most recent issue of Heeb Magazine is causing quite a stir. The issue features Roseanne Barr wearing an apron and a Hitler mustache, pulling a tray of “burnt Jew cookies” out of an oven. The Heeb publisher posted an article explaining the editorial choice, which discusses a cultural shift towards acceptance of “Holocaust humor.” Heeb argues that old taboos are relaxing. Jews are beginning to embrace the Holocaust in a new way - as something to laugh about. Is this true? Has the Holocaust really become funny?