A BAFTA winning production company has been appointed to capture never before heard testimony from survivors of the Shoah as part of the prime minister’s pledge to ensure the meory of the Holocaust lives on.
Atlantic Productions has already captured in 3D interviews by Natasha Kaplinsky with 20 survivors and liberators, many of whom have broken years of silence to ensure their recollections are preserved.
But the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation – tasked with bringing to reality the recommendations of the David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission – has now asked the company to collect and preserve another 100 stories over the coming year, focusing on previously unrecorded testimony.
UKHMF board member Natasha Kaplinsky said: “I am so honoured to have had the opportunity to hear these outstanding individuals tell their stories first-hand, imbued with courage and strength.
Their brave efforts to recall such painful experiences, means that the memory of the Holocaust will be preserved so that future generations will understand the dangers of where prejudice and hatred can lead. Together with these incredible survivors, we are dedicated to honouring the legacy of those who perished and those who survived.”
The testimony will form part of the national learning centre to open to London in 2020 – one of the key recommendations of the Commission.
Among those giving their first account of their experiences was Agnes, who was just 11 when the Nazi regime occupied Hungary, She spoke of narrowly missing deportation to Auschwitz when her train was diverted and how her family survived due to a number of lucky escapes coupled with an endless resourcefulness.
She said: “‘I decided to share my memories after surviving the Holocaust because it’s important to me that the facts of history are preserved. My life didn’t really properly begin until I set foot in this wonderful country. I was 24 when I arrived in Britain, and not until then was I treated as a human being.
“If any lesson is to be learned from my story, it’s that intolerance is evil. It almost destroyed me and it destroyed millions, among them many of the people I loved. I hope that my grandchildren and their children will learn the lessons that human beings are valuable, they are all entitled to dignity. Tolerance is what I teach.”
Anthony Geffen, CEO of Atlantic Productions, said: ““It is vital for us to future-proof these incredible narratives, so that the voices of these survivors can testify directly to generations to come. Our experience of storytelling using the very latest 3D and VR technology will allow us to capture these testimonies in a whole new way. We are working at the cutting edge of technology alongside UKHMF to ensure that this irreplaceable content is always accessible and recorded in the richest possible detail.”
The Foundation is working alongside organisations including Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors centre to ensure the emotional needs of survivorsd are met as they recall often harrowing memorers.