D I R E C T O R ' S S T A T E M E N T
I began work on this project confident that I knew quite a bit about the
Holocaust. I had read books and I had seen a lot of documentary films.
Now having worked in this area for years, I realize that the experiences
of the survivors are more varied than I would have imagined, and they are
by John Menszer
I have been given a great gift to work with Holocaust survivors; I
continually draw sustenance from their inner strength. I think anyone who
works with them must feel that the tragic part of their own lives falls into
perspective beside the losses that the survivors have experienced.
My method of working, which leads me to go back again and again for
clarification, has helped me to feel a part of their lives. I am happy
that I now have a big extended family. I can truly say that what has
motivated me to keep on persevering with this project has been my personal
relationships with survivors. Without this personal element my motivation
would have run its course by now.
When I was growing up I remember one questions that was always asked
about survivors: Why did they go to their deaths like sheep to be
slaughtered? Now I can think of so many more questions that should have
been asked then. It was a time when those who did not experience the
Holocaust found it to be a subject that was distasteful, and they did not
want to be reminded about it. And the survivors then were reluctant to
discuss such fresh and painful topics.
Now, new generations have been born who have no personal connection to
World War II or the Holocaust. Tragically, new slaughters have been
visited on the helpless, innocent people in this world. Yet, I believe
that the Holocaust was unique: It was born out of a malevolent ideology
that distinguished between human life worth living and sub-human life fit
for the ovens. Sadly, there are people today who believe this. I think
we need to educate our children about this so that they will not be
vulnerable to these hate mongers.
It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to be writing this statement
knowing all the work that has been done to present these survivor stories
to you. I have so many people to thank; you know who you are.