The Holocaust and its after mess is a very sensitive subject for me. As a daughter of a Holocaust surviving mother, her story and the so many other stories I have heard over the years touch the deepest cord of my being, easily water my eyes.
The story behind the Voices of the Generations is such a story. The story of Hanna and Walter Kohner, from their childhood in pre-Nazi-Hitler era Czechoslovakia to the time they found each other after the war is one story among six million other stories. Hanna documented their stories, that did not always run in parallel lines, in her book Hanna & Walter, A Love Story, an attestation to an amazing story of great uplifting ending.
Hanna and Walter’s daughter Julie Kohner took upon herself to carry on her parents’ legacy by telling their personal story to everyone, but mostly to the young generations. She founded Voices of the Generations (VOG), a unique educational program about the Holocaust, and with it she began opening doors to tell the story to any listening ear.
Several days ago, at the exquisite home of Laura and Sam Goldfeder, in Beverly Hills, hosted by Leigh Stein and her sister Laura Goldfeder, with opening words from Uri Reznick, Deputy Israel Consul General, I had the opportunity to hear and watch what Julie Kohner tells and shows the children and youths about the Holocaust, a presentation based on her parents’ life story.
Children relate to visual that gravitates them to learn, Julie claims. The program includes Hanna’s book and the black and white clip of the fascinating segment ‘This Is Your Life’, sponsored by Hazel Bishop cosmetics company, in which the host, Ralph Edwards, takes the beautiful Hanna Bloch Kohner through her most significant life events. Hanna is surprised by meeting on the show people she has not seen for many years, who played key position in these events. (This is your Life: Hanna Bloch Kohner (1953 – https://archive.org/details/this_is_your_life_hanna_bloch_kohner/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4ckFEnn5Bo).
The program’s curriculum, published in English and German and currently is the process of being translated into Spanish, is already taught in many schools in many states. But the work has hardly begun for VOG.
What drives Julie is her strong belief that telling about the Holocaust is the Jewish nation’s safeguard; the life struggle, extinction and survival of a nation that has suffered like no other nation has is a story that must be kept alive. The Jewish people spiritual heritage is the Jewish nations’ future. If we do not write about what happened during WWII, that gave birth to the Holocaust, the most vicious human atrocity to have ever taken place on planet Earth, perpetrated by one nation against another nation, then one day people will say it never happened it did not happen!
During the Holocaust, less the few Righteous Among the Nations people most of the world did not lift a finger to help the Jews and save them from the Nazis claws.
The Holocaust is a lesson every Jew should know; that he or she cannot rely on anyone but oneself. United the Jewish nation can only deliver miracles.
Helping Voices of the Generations to spread its program about the Holocaust is not just a mitzvah, it is a commemorating duty in honor of six million Jews who perished in the most gruesome way, just because they were Jews.
One more Holocaust story, one other commendable effort to make sure that the slogan Never Again, will never be forgotten.