(WSVN) - A new project looks to preserve the past by providing a real-time interactive experience for anyone looking to have a conversation with a Holocaust survivor.
“I was liberated in Czechoslovakia in 1945,” said Holocaust survivor Morris Dan.
Dan recounted the moments he was freed from a concentration camp at the end of World War II.
“I was not able to stand up, so the Czechish people took me down in a stretcher because I was bone and skin,” he said.
His parents and siblings never joined him.
“I lost all my family in the gas chamber,” he said. “I’m the only one who can speak for them.”
In 50 years, Dan will still speak for his family, and he’ll speak for himself too.
“I am the only one, right now, standing in front of you and telling you the honest truth that the reason that I lost my family was because I was Jewish,” Dan said.
His words will stand the test of time through the Steven Spielberg Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony project.
Dan is one of two survivors who will be asked 1,000 questions at the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in Dania Beach.
His answers will be used to create responses asked by a live audience in the future.
“We understand very well that maybe in 10, 15 years, there won’t be any Holocaust survivors alive and people will still be able to ask them the questions and they will be able to hear from them directly,” said Svetlana Ushakova, USC Shoah Foundation.
Creators said Dan’s words will make sure the truth lives so that we can learn from it.
“They’re here, really, because we know what hatred, bigotry and prejudice can do,” said Rositta Kenigsberg of the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center.
Those involved with the project said we don’t have to wait to start learning. What happened in World War II is playing out before our eyes in Ukraine.
“When he talks about the German tanks and army rolling up in his town in Poland in September ’39 and the shock and the disbelief, and then we’re watching a similar sense of shock and disbelief,” one man said.
As for Dan, he draws a direct and personal connection.
“I call him a Hitler, he is not better than that,” Dan said of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
He also has something to say to the leaders who are watching.
“To help them as much as we can in every way — by air, by sea, by foot, by car — to fight that they have an opportunity that they have people now which are willing to help. In my time, nobody wants to help us, nobody,” Dan said.
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