Someone had reminded me about a presentation i gave at CSD re: Deaf Holocaust survivors where when someone asked me how i got interested in the topic, I remarked about how as a young teenager i was manually turning the knobs to three channels on our captionless old TV searching for something that might be more visually easy to follow and hit some back and white footage of the liberation of one death camp at the end of WW 2. I sat down and was stunned. Tears streamed down my face and my dad came in – looked at the tube sat down next to me and held my hand. I asked “Why did G-d let this happen?” to which dad replied “G-d didn’t do this, man did.”
so i thank this person (named C) for reminding me of this story big time because:
1. when i study the Shoah (the Holocaust) it always teaches me that in the face of great inhumanity there was great humanity
2. that when folks turn and look the other way during genocide- bad stuff happens
3. how much i love Simchat Torah – this is one of my favorite Jewish holidays because it is so centered around recognizing the gift of the torah – folks dance with it – tonight at shul, one torah was unrolled from beginning to end with all of us holding it up – Jewish folks and Gentiles a like – while little ones – the next generation, danced and waved flags and then the Rabbi read the last words of the end of the torah and the first words in the beginning of the torah to show how it is never ending etc. They also consecrated all the newest children entering religious school. They said when a Jewish community is formed – they set up a school before they set up a synagogue – next after the parents, schools are our biggest agent of socialization
4. C’s reminding me of this story with my dad is really really important because i just learned of the passing of a beautiful soul – Sonia. Sonia was a hearing survivor of the camps who lived in Rochester and when I sought out a woman with a Polish accent to do the voice over for a Deaf-Blind survivor we videotaped – Sonia agreed to do the job for nothing.
Imagine! Imagine being willing to re-tell someone else’s Holocaust experience. She told me she had already been interviewed by the Shoah Foundation herself before so her story is documented. On the day we did the recording – she had some trouble reading the captions – she doesnt know ASL and with age she had alot of vision problems herself. We had to pause alot. She was so kind and serious about this work. when we were all done she looked at me and said “I admire this woman. I am glad I have gotten to know her and her story.” I almost burst out crying. When I tried to give her some money in addition to a star of David stainglass present I had brought her, she said “no, nothing. I need nothing.” When i got a little more insistent (you can imagine i am no fun to argue with) “She said well maybe you send something to the Jewish Federation, yes.”
Yes, indeed, yes. When i asked, how many prints of the DVD would you like for yourself or family – she said well one will do. “I can share with my daughter and when my son comes to visit he can watch it.” I said “I will send you three.” OKay she shrugged as if to say – if you insist.
Whatsmore, Sonia was good friends with , another local hearing survivor who had spoken to many of my classes in the past and who had died the year before. Angie’s proverb always rings true in my mind “hatred is simply a waste of time.”
Thank u C for reminding me
There are more good folks than there are bad. They need to stand up and be counted.
NOTE: the short documentary of Doris Fedrid (Worry: A Deaf-Blind Survivor Shares Her Story) that Sonia did the voice over for is at http://www.rit.edu/ntid/ccs/deafww2/