Deputy Minister of Pensioner Affairs Leah Nass stressed on Wednesday the importance of collecting testimonies from Holocaust survivors.
Nass, who has been leading two projects that deal with documentation of survivors’ testimonies and care for their rights, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day.
She explained that with each day that passes we lose more and more survivors who could tell about what happened to them during the Holocaust.
“About 200 thousand Holocaust survivors are living with us today and only ten percent of them have documented what they went through,” said Nass. “It is important to us that each fragment of memory will be published. Therefore, we initiated a project of called LeDorot (for Generations in Hebrew) in which we approach Holocaust survivors, often with the help of volunteers who come to their homes. The survivors are encouraged to tell their story, and all the stories are uploaded to the Yad Vashem website.”
Deputy Minister Nass said that the project is essentially a race against time. “To date we have documented thousands of Holocaust survivors, but it's a race against time, because every day we lose more than thirty Holocaust survivors. With more and more Holocaust deniers making their voices heard every day, it is important to document as much as possible.”
She added that as a daughter of Holocaust survivors, she is very sorry that she did not have the chance to document her parents’ stories.
“Both my parents went through the horrors, and today they are no longer among the living,” said Nass. “My parents told us from infancy what happened, but we never documented it. Today I am left with fragments of memories, but without the full story. That’s why we want each living survivor to record his experiences in the Holocaust. It's not simple, because some survivors may find it hard to talk about what happened, but we explain to them the great importance of it, and for some it even slightly diminishes the loneliness.”
A second project headed by Nass’ office is called La’ad (Forever) and is meant to reach all those Holocaust survivors who have yet to exercise their rights.
“There's always criticism that we have to give more, but some survivors have not yet taken advantage of what the State already gives,” she said. “Some have not yet turned to the State and therefore we use volunteers to reach all the survivors. So far we’ve reached about 120 thousand survivors.”