School children ask Siegfried (Siggy) Halbreich,
"Do you have nightmares?" He answers, "Nightmares, dreams, I
never do, because I live with it, day and night."
The testimony of the
90-year-old Los Angeles resident, who survived five years in six concentration
camps, is among those of 180 men and women interviewed in the United States,
Canada and England and heard in a unique, four-hour oral history, "Voices
of the Shoah: Remembrance of the Holocaust."
In a five-year project, the
poignant stories of the survivors, from their early childhoods to old age, have
been collected in a four-volume box set, available in both CD and audio
Rhino Records, which
describes the sets as the first-ever audio documentary of the Holocaust, will
release them on March 14, with narration by actor Elliott Gould. All proceeds
are to be donated to The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which
participated in the project.
The audio sets are
complemented by a 100-page hardbound book, with complete transcripts of the
spoken testimonies, historic photos, explanatory essays, an excellent time-line
of events, maps, charts and a glossary.
In addition, there are
suggested questions and activities for parents and teachers, and a list of
additional teaching resources and Web sites.
John R. Fishel, president of
The Jewish Federation, said he became involved in the project as facilitator,
after he realized, following visits to Holocaust museums, that there were no
audio histories available to the public.
Richard Foos, president of
Los Angeles-based Rhino Records, had a similar reaction and asked filmmaker
David Notowitz to produce "Voices of the Shoah."
(The Rhino production has no
connection to Steven Spielberg's widely publicized Shoah Foundation, which has
videotaped the stories of some 50,000 survivors.)
Volume one features
survivors' remembrances of life in Europe before World War II, the rise in
anti-Semitism as Hitler gained power, and the Jewish experience in ghettos and
concentration camps. Volume two includes survivors' memories of liberation, life
after the war, adjustment to freedom, and emigration to Israel or the West.
Volume three deals with
Jewish-American and Japanese-American soldiers who witnessed the horrors of the
concentration camps and tells the story of a rabbi who went to Europe to help
survivors. Volume four includes the personal account of a woman who survived in
a small Polish village by hiding her Jewish identity, and the attitudes of a
second-generation survivor in dealing with the Holocaust legacy.
Of the 24 survivors speaking on the set, 14 are women.
Besides Halbreich, other
featured Angelenos include John Rauch, Sonia Meyers and Cesia Kingston.
The complete box set will be
available as of March 14 at record stores and other retail outlets, at a
suggested retail list price of $69.98/CD and $54.98/cassette, or directly from
the Rhino Web site: www.rhino.com.
Copyright © 2000, Jewish Journal of
Greater L.A., All rights reserved. Reprinted
here with the permission of Tom Tugend.
© Copyright Judy Cohen, 2001.
All rights reserved.