My grandfather, Siegfried Rosenthal, never spoke to me about his experiences the night of November 9th, 1938, Kristallnacht. The night that the SS came to his door and arrested him in front of his seven year old son and pregnant wife for simply being a Jew and taken to a Concentration camp. He did write his thoughts down at one point. I am glad he did, otherwise his story, his voice would have been lost to me, my daughters and their future children.
That brings up the question of each of our own responsibility of telling our stories, so they will not forget. My grandfather wrote his story on a typewriter. That piece of paper was passed down to my father and then to me. How long, how many generations will it take before that paper gets lost ,destroyed or vanishes forever?I
I offered to give a presentation to students, when each of my children were in 6th grade, which is traditionally (here in the US) the time that they get an introduction to the Holocaust in Social Studies. I created a PowerPoint, the tool I had available at that time.
As I continue to think about the importance of storytelling, media literacy and teaching students with “their” media in order to reach theme, to make a connection.Â I feel it is time to re-tell my grandfather and our family’s story. Trying to make the words jump off that paper, that my grandfather wrote so many years ago. I am sad, that the technology was not as readily available before 1993, when he passed away. Today I could have filmed and recorded him easily across the distance between Germany and the US.