By Deanne Kapnik
Director of Special Events & Projects
Generations: Survivor Stories is the newest addition to the museum’s Community Narratives Project, a collection of digital stories that serve as living objects in our permanent exhibit. Stories of 32 members of Denver’s Jewish community are accessible in an audio/visual format, enhancing the experience for museum visitors and highlighting the central theme of immigration.
The newly completed compilation of stories of child survivors of the Holocaust was previewed on November 9 during the Miryam Brand Holocaust Education Film Project at George Washington High School. Generations stories and their storytellers will also be featured during two Salon Nights on February 16 and March 15 at the museum, and during Generations Opening Night on April 19, 2012.
Sari Horovitz and I had the honor of working with Miriam Hoffman, who was born in Larissa, Greece in 1935. At the age of five, she contracted polio, her father was in the Greek army, and her mother moved with her to Chalkis to be near family. Her father joined them in 1941, when Germany and Italy occupied Greece and the Greek army disbanded. In 1942, the Nazis were advancing from the north and the mayor and chief of police helped the Jews in Athens acquire false IDs with Christian names, and helped them hide. Over the next two years, the 18-member family moved around, ending up in Athens, where they split into three residences. In 1944, they heard that the Nazis had deported all Jews from Salonika and Larissa to Auschwitz. In their home in Athens, they removed every sign of being Jewish and decorated their walls with Christian icons. After years of hiding, all but Miriam’s grandmother survived. She was murdered in Auschwitz.
You’ll be able to meet Miriam and hear her story at the March 15 Salon Night, and at Generations Opening Night on April 19, 2012, when the collection will be launched as the newest addition to 4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks.
Students at the November 9 Generations program stood in line to greet Miriam Hoffman and thank her for telling her story.