Holocaust Educational Trust Blog

A space for featured guest bloggers and members of the Holocaust Educational Trust team to comment and reflect on timely issues.

'Their Legacy, Our Future’ and the Impact on Me

The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) is gearing up for its first online crowdfunding campaign, movingly and appropriately entitled ‘Their Legacy, Our Future’. Not only does the theme of the campaign speak honestly and to the heart of our mission at the Trust, but it also has a profound meaning and truth to my own personal experience of HET’s work.

My name is Annabel, and I am currently a Project Coordinator for the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project. Prior to this I was a Regional Ambassador for the Trust and experienced LFA for myself in 2014.

I often say I owe a lot to the Holocaust Educational Trust. However, I feel I should amend this to: I owe a lot to our survivors. They are at the heart of what we do, they inspire us and all whom they meet, they affirm us and amaze us time and again. Their testimonies are the veins that run through our work, and their spirit is the lifeforce of the organisation.

When you look upon the face of a survivor, hear their voice and learn their name it is a profound and deeply transformative moment. It is the point at which our audiences link the abstractness of a brutal history dense with incomprehensible and impersonal statistics, with a human life. This human connection is a moment where testimony causes powerful emotions to emerge to often transformational levels.

My personal journey with HET is testament to the truth and power of this experience, and I know that I am not the only person able to express this sentiment. Hearing testimony inspired my passion for Holocaust education and consistently fuelled my growing commitment to our vital mission. The legacy of Holocaust survivors is absolutely something that influenced my present and will continue to shape my future in my career and in what matters to me.

‘Their Legacy, Our Future’ is a powerful statement, and its meaning is multifaceted. However, its heartbeat lies in the truth and extent of the impact our survivors have on those they meet. An impact that resonates for days, and years to come and knits itself into your core values and the person you become. HET’s work not only ensures the preservation of Holocaust memory, but it also shapes people, and it has shaped me.

I smile when I think of Zigi Shipper’s witty sense of humour.

I feel admiration when I hear Ruth Posner’s incredible stories of her career in the arts.

I feel uplifted by Dorit Oliver Wolf’s vivacious spirit and fierce joy for life.

I am comforted by Harry Spiro’s soft voice and am heartened when he tells me how much he loves his wife.

My day is made when I speak to Janine Webber and her sweetness and gentleness flows through the phone.

I admire Mala Tribich’s humility and the kindness she shows all those who hear her speak.

I am moved by Hannah Lewis and her love for her family and her fellow survivors.

There is so much more I could say about the survivors I have personally heard from and met, and there will always be more to say about the importance of testimony and the privilege of working with Holocaust survivors. And it is because of their overwhelming bravery and spirit for life, that their legacy is one that is both vital and precious. They teach us so much about this dark and painful period of history and still so much more about the value of life and all the strength and joy to be found in living with courage, love and holding onto each other tightly.

 

So, to our inspirational and brave survivors, thank you and rest assured that your legacy will be safe in our hands, that it inspires and guides our future and lives in the present of all who are moved by your testimonies.

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