About the Project

D   I   R   E   C   T   O   R   '   S       S   T   A   T   E   M   E   N   T

by John Menszer

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 often miraculous.

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.

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