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 student Sarit Katz mentioned during the Names, Not Numbers filming, “We are the last generation to have the opportunity to talk to survivors first hand.” As we get farther 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.
Every year at YCQ, grade eight students 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. 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.
For those who survived, the horror haunted them for a life time, yet they were able to move forward and rebuild new 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. This year, six survivors, six miracles, participated with the students in the program. The YCQ students interviewed Leon Sherman, born Cmielow, Poland; Bella Korn, Komorów, Poland; Louis Katz, Uzhorod, Poland; Jehuda Lindenblatt, Budapest, Hungary; Yolana Dienstag, Kornlosh, Poland; and Halina Milich, Lodz, Poland.
The final documentary was premiered to the YCQ students, their families, faculty, and survivors alongside their families. 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.
Mrs. Rosenberg has made it her passion to document these stories so that “no one could say, it didn’t happen.” The message that she wants to get across, is how important it is that “we do not forget to tell the children that in the end, we won and they lost.” Through her work with this project, she is creating personal connections between students and survivors, while keeping “the heart and spirit of individual eyewitnesses” alive. She is taking a front-line role in teaching future generations to combat anti-Semitism. Through her program, Names, Not Numbers©, a lesson is being taught and will continue to be taught to the world, that it is our turn now, “to live, to remember, and to tell the world.”
When asked why call the programs Names, Not Number, Dvora Finkel, student, said, “The number tattooed on their forearms took away their names that belong to them. It is what identified who they are.” Survivor Leon Sherman remembered being told on arrival at the camps, “Here you have a number, no name. There is no way out.” For over six million, that was the horrifying truth; for others, they survived and rebuilt and through Names, Not Numbers, none will be forgotten.