Friday, May 18, 2012

Who Will Write Our History? — Voices From the Warsaw Ghetto

A guest post courtesy of Congregation Adas Emuno Trustee Norman H. Rosen:

 Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto, a historical study by Samuel Kassow, tells about the miraculous preservation of an archive of writings by people who were in the Warsaw ghetto. It tells the story of an historian named Emanuel Ringlebaum who executed a plan to collect first hand written statements in their own words about their experiences from a broad spectrum of the Jewish population of the ghetto, representing all political groups, classes, ages and genders. He then buried them in milk cans in the hope that they would be found after these voices had been silenced. Two of the three milk cans have now been found. The archive is now in the possession of a Jewish museum in Warsaw. Samuel Kassow is a professor of history at Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut. 

On Thursday April 19th, I was privileged to attend a dramatic reading from these powerful and poignant writings . The reading was at the Puffin Foundation Cultural Forum in Teaneck. The actors were Rae C. Wright and Leo Schaff. It was a very moving experience. On May 10th at 7pm the author, Dr. Samuel Kassow, was at the Puffin Forum to discuss the book and the archive, a very interesting and deeply moving event. 

On a somewhat more upbeat note, permit me to end by telling you about Michael Tudor, a Baptist lawyer who is a colleague of mine. Michael was instrumental in creating a Holocaust memorial in his hometown of Alexandria, Louisiana. Alexandria is located in the middle of Louisiana. Michael saw such a memorial in New Orleans. When he got home he called up the local Rabbi and asked why there was no memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in Alexandria. Michael, the Rabbi and a third person formed a committee, raised funds and built the memorial. A week ago Michael called to describe a very moving experience that he had the prior evening. He attended a Holocaust memorial service in Alexandria at a large Baptist church. The service was co-sponsored by the church and the local synagogue, and Michael said it was packed. The main speaker was a professor who is a survivor and who specializes in Holocaust and genocide studies.The Jewish prayer El Molei Rachamim was recited. We need to remember that there are also beautiful people like Michael Tudor in this world. 

Norman H. Rosen

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