As every year passes, more firsthand accounts of the Holocaust are lost. Carleton University has launched a new initiative to help preserve these important accounts for future generations.
Led by Mina Cohn, director of the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship (CHES) within Carleton University’s Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies, this initiative is hoping to raise $7,500 using Carleton’s Futurefunder crowdfunding platform to record and preserve the testimonies of Ottawa Holocaust survivors as oral histories.
The project will ensure the preservation of Ottawa Holocaust survivors’ accounts and their experiences before, during and after the Holocaust. These recorded testimonies will become a powerful pedagogical tool to be used in any educational institution or setting and will allow Carleton professors and students to explore online the unique power of survivors’ memoirs. The recordings and associated educational materials will form the basis of a special Ottawa-based Holocaust memorial project and will become a public resource freely accessible on the CHES website.
Each survivor has a unique and personal story to tell. These eyewitness accounts unite personal experience with the history of the period in a powerful way, creating a feeling of immediacy to the events, and there is an urgent need to record and preserve survivor accounts before it is too late. CHES is in contact with local Holocaust survivors and is already working with those interested in participating in this project.
The $7,500 to be raised will help cover the cost of producing, editing and arranging a public launch of the video testimonies of Ottawa Holocaust survivors. In the first round, CHES will record up to 10 different survivor testimonies, in a professional studio environment with the help of professional videographers. If sufficient funding is available, it will produce thematic videos on associated topics, such as life before the Holocaust in certain locations, camp experiences, child survivors, Jews in hiding, etc. Recording is scheduled to start in June 2016.
The unedited recording and videotapes will serve as resources for scholars, students, educators and the public, and provide glimpses into the individual lives during the Holocaust that cannot be obtained from documents or written records. Such testimonies are also an excellent resource for the development of anti-racism educational materials.
To learn more, visit futurefunder.carleton.ca/project/ottawa-holocaust-survivors-testimony.