Observing International Holocaust Remembrance Day Every Day
After I made Paper Clips, it seemed like everywhere I went people would ask me, “Are you Jewish?”
I borrowed the reply that I’d been told Charlie Chaplin gave to that question: “I do not have that honor.” I’m certainly not likening myself in any other way to the master filmmaker, but I find myself thinking now, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, about the responsibility all of us have – Jews and non-Jews alike. We have a great responsibility to keep alive the stories of Holocaust survivors, those great and precious souls whom the passage of time is taking from us.
The Butterfly Project is by its very nature a great contribution to that mission we all share. Indeed, Liebe Geft, director of LA’s Museum of Tolerance declares in our film NOT The Last Butterfly that the project is “passing the torch” to new generations who must keep these stories alive.
So it should come as no surprise that co-founders Jan Landau and Cheryl Rattner Price have put together The Butterfly Project’s Education Team to further this effort, taking Holocaust history and survivor stories into classrooms. The team consists of Jan (chair) and retired educators/children of survivors Sonia Fox-Ohlbaum, Judi Gottschalk and Arlene Keeyes. They have brought their program to thousands of students in the San Diego area, and have worked with other experts in the field to create the In Our Hands Teacher Training.
This idea of carrying the torch and passing its flame to others strikes me as a purpose of the highest order in life. And as the Education Team teaches, this work engages us in both remembrance and prevention, for, as we know, remaining mindful of the lessons of the Holocaust may save us from reliving it. We must understand the sources and dangers of prejudice and racism, and we must treasure the diversity represented by humanity’s many faces and cultures. We must be conscious of the world around us, constantly watchful for oppression, the abuse of power, and injustice wherever it appears.
Let us observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day every day. A perfect way to do so is through ongoing support of The Butterfly Project and its Education Team. All of us can and should be involved in this work. Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer expressed how I feel when he said,
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
Author: Joe Fab
Award-winning filmmaker Joe Fab is partnering with The Butterfly Project on the 50 State Initiative to bring Holocaust education to all 50 states. Joe is an Emmy-nominated producer, director and writer with over three decades of experience in film and video production, media and communications, event production and the live presentation of plays and music. His feature length documentaries and other programs have appeared on HBO, Showtime, Discovery, History, and PBS, among others. His diverse client list has included the Bipartisan Policy Center, Smithsonian Institution, United State Memorial Holocaust Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Senator Sam Nunn, National Education Association, et al. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the International Documentary Association, and Women In Film And Video (DC). Joe is co-director and co-producer of the documentary Not The Last Butterfly, appearing in film festivals in 2017.