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Holocaust Survivors Memories

As the Gottell family fled for their lives when the Nazis invaded France in 1942, they could never have imagined that their harrowing story would be perpetuated by a high school student in Jerusalem (whose family is from Iraq and Morocco) over 70 years later. Thanks to a new Israeli Ministry of Education project being carried out at Boys Town Jerusalem, high school students are personally interviewing the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors to learn and record their stories firsthand.

For Boys Town student Amit Ben David, it was the chance of a lifetime. “My own family has no direct relationship to the Holocaust, since our roots are in North Africa,” Amit explained. “Yet I’ve always felt a personal connection to the Holocaust, an inner spark that’s drawn me to the subject. For years I’ve wanted to speak to a survivor, but I didn’t know how.”Amit was delighted when he and his classmates were assigned the task of interviewing a survivor and recording his or her story to submit to the Ministry of Education for preservation. But only then did they touch upon the continuing tragedy that envelops those who survived.

“The first survivor that we were to interview was an elderly woman who had agreed to share her story. We spoke with her and arranged to meet at her home. But just before our meeting, she called, crying. She said that as she gathered material to show us, a rush of memories overcame her, and she had become so distraught that she was now ill. She cancelled our interview, and we felt terrible about causing her pain.”

Fortunately, Amit’s history teacher Chaim Chorev, coordinator of the project at Boys Town, reassured his students they could proceed, and suggested a second survivor who had agreed to be interviewed. “Mr. Gottell is a university professor who told us of his family’s daring escape and how at age six, he and his little brother went into hiding for years,” Amit said. “In 1947, at age 11, he came alone to Palestine and was eventually joined by family members who had survived. We were struck by his courage as a child and by his continuous faith in the Almighty.”

According to instructor Chaim Chorev, the new project is of importance both to the students and the survivors. “It is difficult to find survivors to interview‐‐‐so many are elderly; emotionally and physically fragile. But time is running out, and there is a particular urgency to carrying out these face‐to‐face meetings.”Chorev stressed that the Ministry of Education provided guidelines to teach the students interview techniques, sample questions to ask, and background on the emotional state of survivors. “The reports that our students produced for this project were outstanding, valuable first‐person accounts of the Holocaust, which will remain on file at the Education Ministry along with hundreds of others from across the nation.” “I was really lucky to have the chance to do something tangible to keep Holocaust history and memories alive,” said Amit.

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Aenean sollicitudin, lorem quis bibendum auctor, nisi elit consequat ipsum, nec sagittis sem nibh id elit.
Duis sed odio sit amet nibh vulputate cursus a sit amet mauris. Morbi accumsan ipsum velit. Nam nec tellus a odio tincidunt auctor a ornare odio. Sed non mauris vitae erat consequat auctor eu in elit.

This is Photoshop’s version of Lorem Ipsum. Proin gravida nibh vel velit auctor aliquet.
Aenean sollicitudin, lorem quis bibendum auctor, nisi elit consequat ipsum, nec sagittis sem nibh id elit.
Duis sed odio sit amet nibh vulputate cursus a sit amet mauris. Morbi accumsan ipsum velit. Nam nec tellus a odio tincidunt auctor a ornare odio. Sed non mauris vitae erat consequat auctor eu in elit.

© 2015 Canadian Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem.
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