I have posted this previously on my website, but it is now up on Medium and somewhat edited.
I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in the 1990s and I follow its social media pages. One of the stories featured on the museum’s pages is the story of Shannon Allison, this extraordinary teacher in a Navajo community. So touching.
I first saw this report on 60 Minutes in December – the entire transcript with video clips is here. It tells the story of Francesco Lotoro, an Italian man who has dedicated his energy to discovering the music written by prisoners of Nazi death camps and bringing it to life. What a blessing he is, as is his wife.
Aided by his wife, Grazia, who works at the local post office to support the family, Lotoro has collected and catalogued more than 8,000 pieces of music, including symphonies, operas, folk songs, and Gypsy tunes scribbled on everything from food wrapping to telegrams, even potato sacks.
The couple have established a foundation to archive the music and their work in their native Barletta, in the Puglia region of Italy. When/if I am lucky enough to return to Italy, I will visit Barletta and the Lotoros’ foundation.
Please read my “Series of Unpleasant Experiences.”
He was born on this day, one hundred years ago.
Today marks the 77th anniversary of the Rafle du Vel d’Hiv in Paris. It took the French over 50 years to admit their very proactive role in this tragedy, and Jacques Chirac was the one to finally tell the truth. For this reason, I will always have respect for him, in spite of his being — in my view – politically objectionable on other matters. There was absolutely nothing for him to gain from this in terms of votes. It was simply the right thing to do.
For this day, please read my post from last year.
One of the most harrowing interviews Lanzmann did was also among the briefest in Shoah — Yitzhak Zuckerman, a leader of the Jewish resistance in Warsaw, who survived Treblinka and saw untold numbers of friends and comrades die. He told Lanzmann bitterly, “if you could lick my heart, it would poison you.”
At the film’s premier, the French journalist Jean Daniel told Lanzmann: “This justifies a life.”
The emphasis is mine, and I utterly agree with Jean Daniel’s comment.