A 28-minute documentary film, “Blind Love,” recounts a trip in 2013 to Poland of a delegation of six blind Israelis who lead the viewer on a different kind of journey.
It was in the Majdanek Concentration Camp that Liron Artzi, a 30-year-old blind attorney from Tel Aviv, lost control and broke down in tears.
She was touring Jewish sites in Poland with a group of six blind Israelis and their guide dogs to take part in the annual March of the Living.
The cold sliced right through her coat. The tour guide’s description of the scene – a large room with rows of exposed water pipes and shower heads on the ceiling, adjacent to the Majdanek gas chambers – sliced through her heart.
The tears ran down Artzi’s face and would not stop. From a place of profound grief she cried silently without uttering a sound. Partially hidden by a dark hood against the bitter cold, her face froze in a grimace that bared her teeth and could have been mistaken for a smile were it not for the persistent flow of tears.
She reached down for her guide dog, Petel, a Labrador mixed with Golden Retriever, who with keen canine intuition recognized her need for comfort. Petel responded by licking Artzi’s tears, the warm, coarse tongue sweeping Artzi’s face, her nose red from the cold and her open, sightless eyes.
The moment was captured in a 28-minute documentary film, “Blind Love,” recounting the trip in 2013 to Poland of a delegation of six blind Israelis who lead the viewer on a different kind of journey. In the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, a blind woman touches an old gravestone carved lovingly many years before. Her hands caress every crevice, each Hebrew letter, reading the stone with her fingertips as if it were a page of Braille. It makes one think of the last time someone touched that marker, when the Jewish dead in Warsaw had living relatives to visit their graves.
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, when Soviet troops marched into the Nazi death camp and freed its remaining survivors. By January 1945, the Nazi war machine had killed more than 1 million prisoners at the site, most of whom were Jews. The day has since become International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the Auschwitz Museum holds a remembrance every year at the camp’s Death Gate to commemorate the liberation and those lost in the war. This year, YouTube is also helping to mark the end of the Holocaust by livestreaming the event online.
Google has already worked extensively with the Auschwitz Museum, digitizing images and records from the site along uploading media to make for an online museum. Today serves as an extension of those efforts, especially at a time when the number of the camp’s remaining survivors continues to fall. You can watch the ceremonies right now in the embed above.
On January 27, 2015, the world will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The 70th anniversary ceremonies taking place in Auschwitz-Birkenau are expected to draw dozens of foreign dignitaries, heads of state and royalty, including President François Hollande of France, President Joachim Gauck of Germany, President Heinz Fischer of Austria, King Philippe of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander of Holland & Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
More than 3,000 guests will be in attendance, including about 300 survivors of the camps, several of whom will speak during the ceremony, along with 80 March of the Living alumni from Europe. This will likely be the last time when a sizeable group of Auschwitz survivors will be able to personally attend a significant anniversary marking the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The event is being organized by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the USC Shoah Foundation & The World Jewish Congress.
Please take a few minutes to watch: “Auschwitz-Birkenau: 70 Years After Liberation……A Warning to Future Generations”. In this video, five survivors who frequently accompany students to Auschwitz-Birkenau on the March of the Living, along with a number of March of the Living leaders and students, reflect on the meaning of the 70th anniversary and on the educational importance of Auschwitz-Birkenau to future generations.
Raoul Wallenberg rescued more Jews than any other single individual during the Holocaust. He vanished on January 17, 1945 after being apprehended by Soviet authorities. January 17th, 1945 marks the 70th anniversary of his tragic and never explained disappearance.
March of the Living, with the help of the Azrieli Foundation, produced a very moving short piece on his life and legacy, featuring Holocaust survivor Eva Meisels, human rights advocate Irwin Cotler & Joe Kertes, Second Generation Wallenberg survivor.
As we approach this tragic anniversary, in honor of his heroic legacy, please take a few moments to watch:
Today, Friday, November 7th marks 70 years since the execution of the poet Hannah Senesh by the Nazis during WWII.
Senesh, a member of the British Army, was one of 37 Jews from Palestine to parachute into Yugoslavia during WWII to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews. Senesh was captured at the Hungarian border, imprisoned, tortured and ultimately executed on Nov. 7, 1944. During her time as a captured prisoner in her native Budapest, she refused to provide details of her mission. Senesh is regarded as one of the greatest heroines in Jewish history.
If you do nothing else today, please watch this moving 4 minute music video on the heroism and courage of Hannah Senesh. The video is a well known song written by Senesh – Eli, Eli – performed by acclaimed Canadian jazz vocalist and Juno-winner Sophie Milman.
Jerusalem Post The most transformative moments of my trip were those spent with people who endured the horrors of the [...]
Yad Vashem Name Recovery Project
Since 1955, Yad Vashem has worked to fulfill its mandate to preserve the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust by collecting their names, the ultimate representation of a person’s identity. Millions of victims remain unidentified. Yad Vashem urgently calls upon Jewish communities to recover their names through a worldwide Names Recovery Project. Unless we assume collective responsibility for completing this vital mission, some of them may be lost forever. This is a race against time, before those who remember them are no longer with us.
I chose to take a religion class on Judaism, Christianity and Islam in my first semester in cage. I wanted to learn more about religions outside of my own faith, as a result of my experience on the March of the Living.
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