I was working with a French filmmaker on the second floor today when we ran into a group being led by one of our Lipper interns, Avi. This young man was standing in front of the Jewish Resistance gallery and proceeded to talk about his grandparents. “My grandfather survived Auschwitz,” he said, “and my grandmother lived in the forest with her family – there were about 200 people in her group. They were called partisans.”
He went on to explain other forms of Jewish resistance, but I was focused on how he had explained what happened to his grandparents during the war. It reminded me of the Passover exhortation: “In every generation, each of us should feel as though we ourselves had personally gone forth from Egypt.” He has taken this personal family history and made us feel as connected to it as he is.
Clyde Haberman wrote a great piece in the Times this week discussing the problem of who will tell the survivors’ stories after they are gone. “More and more, though, survivors are not the principal bearers of their own stories,” he wrote. “That responsibility is falling with greater urgency to their children and … to their grandchildren.”
Listening to our Lipper intern speak with such passion I felt confident that these stories will be remembered long after the survivors’ grandchildren have grandchildren, and that, without a doubt, should give us all hope for the future.