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The Yeshiva of Central Queens gratefully acknowledges the Names, Not Numbers© Program that has taught our students about the Holocaust through the accounts of eyewitnesses, provided them with interviewing, filming, and editing skills, and, most importantly, enabled meaningful relationships to be forged between the survivors and our students. YCQ has benefited tremendously from its participation in this Legacy Heritage project.

YCQ Social Studies teacher Aryeh Barasch was the advisor this year. He said, “NNN bridges the gap between generations and allowed students to interview a survivor from an age that is sadly starting to fade away. As a teacher, working with this group of students allowed me to view them in a new light as I watched them in a more mature environment and saw them thrive.”

Every year at YCQ, grade eight students are chosen to participate in the Names, Not Numbers© program, an intergenerational oral history film project created by Mrs. Tova Fish-Rosenberg. This project teaches students interviewing skills and filming techniques as they work with a Holocaust educator, social studies teacher, newspaper journalist, and filmmaker. Daniella Orenbuch learned that “[i]nterviewing a Holocaust survivor was very inspiring. We met each survivor and got to know all of them personally as they shared their stories with us. By making this documentary with them, we will make sure their stories are never forgotten.”

The students learned the history prior to the War, during the Shoah, and at Liberation through Web-based research and interviewing skills. Each student made this commitment to take an active role inspiring survivors to tell their stories to create a documentary film.

Student participant Rivka Sullivan said, “I learned many things from my survivor. One of the most important that I will keep with me for the rest of my life is how Hashem has a purpose for everything, even if it doesn’t seem apparent at the time, and that we should have faith in Hashem that He is doing what’s best for us. I found this most inspiring, coming from someone who went through all that he went through.”

For those who survived, the horror haunted them for a lifetime, yet they were able to move forward and rebuild their lives. Their healing began with the retelling of their tragedies and losses, first to their families, and today, with the new age of technology, through filmed, documented histories. On Tuesday evening, April 2, the completed video was viewed by survivors, the YCQ students who helped them create this legacy, family, and faculty.

The film will be archived for future generations in the National Library of Jerusalem in Israel, and in the Mendel Gottesman Library of Yeshiva University.

The program is called Names, Not Numbers to remind the world that, despite all the efforts by their enemies to annihilate the Jewish people by taking away their humanity, they failed; the Jewish people will remain strong and will continue to survive as a nation. These documentaries will assure that those who survived – and those who did not – will never be forgotten.

As we get further away from the Holocaust in years, it becomes more and more imperative to document the stories of survivors. As the Jewish Nation, it is our job to always remember the Shoah and pass the remembrance of the tragedy and the hope on to future generations.

YCQ will never forget Survivors Mrs. Ruth Gruener (interviewed by Ashley Landsberg, Gita Schmerler, Yael Schwartz, and Avital Shakarov), Mr. Mark Sperling (interviewed by Jordan Gottfried, Daniella Orenbuch, Sydney Schneider, and Ahuva Shachar), Mr. Tibor Frankel (interviewed by Abigail Abayev, Sarah Davis, Miri Glaser, Yedida Teitelman, and his granddaughter Hannah Zakry), Mr. Samuel Hersly (interviewed by Talia Goldstein, Emily Mirakov, Ariella Orenbakh, and Gabriella Shikman), Mr. Abraham Zelcer (interviewed by Adam Aranbaiev, Jacob Aronov, Matan Avitsedek, Yosef Shedlo and Raymond Tawil), and Bernard Zagdanski (interviewed by Eva Czegledi, Eitan Danesh, Ariella Katz, Aaron Sisser, and Rivka Sullivan).

Photo Credit: Maxine Lipshitz