Holocaust Awareness Mitzvah Project My daughter chose to devote her Mitzvah Project to Holocaust awareness. The program we organized, Holocaust Conversations Across Generations, was an opportunity for her friends to hear, first hand, the personal stories of Holocaust survivors. She believed this project was important because the number of survivors are dwindling, and her generation will be the last to hear these accounts directly from survivors.
Holocaust Conversations Across Generations was held at our Synagogue. If your Synagogue is not available, you could consider having the project in your home or at a local Holocaust center/museum. Due to the nature of the subject, the children were required to be at least 9 years old and accompanied by an adult. We therefore invited my daughter’s friends with their families.
Twenty-five Holocaust survivors and 100 guests attended the event. To begin the program, a single survivor told his riveting story of survival to the group as a whole. Following this speech, the twenty-five survivors were paired with our invitees. At a quiet table, the survivors told their testimonies and personal accounts to our guests who were encouraged to ask questions. In addition, some survivors shared sentimental items and photos of themselves during the Holocaust. When stories and photos are shared by a survivor directly, it has a lasting impression.
We live in South Florida and there are many survivors in our community. If you cannot locate survivors from your synagogue, you can seek assistance from your local Holocaust center/museum. Rather than having your guests pair off, you may consider having one or two survivors tell their stories to your guests as an entirety.
Submitted by: Bettina Hollo
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