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How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust

    Foreword
Page 1 of 1  

As someone who has devoted almost five decades searching for information about what happened to Mordechai Miedzyrecki, my lost brother, and to numerous other members of my family who perished in the Holocaust, I well understand the significance of tracing family members and documenting accounts of what happened to them.

For those of us who were tragically caught in the Holocaust, our family trees-trees with deep roots and fruitful histories in Europeþhave unnaturally short branches, branches severed prematurely, cut well before they had an opportunity to develop. And yet, for many survivors of the Holocaust, and especially for their descendants, investigation of and connecting to the past have taken on ever-growing significance.

Over the years, there have been many attempts to rewrite the history of the Holocaust: to diminish its magnitude, to universalize it, or to deny that it ever took place. It is these attempts that make the significance of documenting the victims and survivors of the Holocaust so very clear.

What better testimony is there to the Holocaust than the names of the individuals who were the victims. What would be the response of the Holocaust deniers regarding the 450,000 Jews deported from the Warsaw ghetto to their deaths at Treblinka if they were presented with a list of the individuals who were murdered? What better tribute to the survival and rebirth of the Jewish people than the names of the survivors who established themselves throughout the world and rebuilt their lives from the ashes of postwar Europe.

It is for this reason that we all have the obligation to document the participants in the Holocaustþthe victims through Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the survivors through the Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Only then can future historians have undeniable proof that the Holocaust was an event that happened to people. Only then will the world realize that the Holocaust was more than place names like Auschwitz and Majdanek. More than events such as Kristalnacht, Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and Death Marches. The Holocaust was people, each individual with a story to tell, sometimes of survival, more likely of death.

Benjamin Meed
President
American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors

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