Holocaust Symposium Archive Project


In February of 2018, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and Schoen Consulting conducted interviews with over 1,350 American individuals ages 18 and over about their knowledge and awareness of the Holocaust. A staggering 70% of those interviewed believed that fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust as much as they used to. 22% of Millennials (or approximately 1/5) haven’t heard or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust. And 58% of Americans interviewed stated that they believed, something like the Holocaust could happen again. Sadly, if so many believe that the Holocaust could happen again, the needless extermination of over 6 million Jews, then it is imperative that our children understand and care about what the Holocaust was, who it affected, and what the implications were so that we do not repeat such a tragedy ever again.  

The Holocaust Education Resource Center (a division of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania) strives to make the mandate “Never Again” not merely a phrase, but a belief held deep in the hearts of the over 800 children who experience the Holocaust Symposium each year. Sharing this goal and believing in our own mission of education and public service, WVIA proposed a partnership with the HERC to preserve the voices of the Holocaust survivors so that children in the future can learn from their unique and highly personal stories of pain and hope, fear and strength, and ultimately triumph over evil. 

Unfortunately, as the number of survivors of the Holocaust dwindles, the reality that their message could be lost becomes a vital concern.  Consider this: a man or woman who was 20 years old in the Holocaust would be approximately 96 today. WVIA filmed the survivors who spoke at the May 2019 Symposium, thus preserving and expanding the depth of their stories, their messages, their calls to action for future use in a documentary, the subject to be determined by the HERC, JFNP, and WVIA. In separate 30 minute interviews with each survivor, WVIA will film the personal accounts of endurance during one of the greatest tragedies known to mankind. Additionally, the filming also preserved the reactions of the children to the survivors’ testimonies, as well as document the emotional impact of the Symposium on all who are involved: young and old, student and educator, survivors and volunteers.  WVIA conducted interviews with students at the Symposium, and also travelled to individual classrooms throughout the year to document the preparations involved in attending the yearly Holocaust Symposium. 

The collective footage of survivor testimony and student impact footage will create content not only for the documentary, but for the curriculum, as well. With these tasks completed, it is our combined hope that the mandate “Never Again” will be a life-long reality in the lives of the children impacted by the Holocaust Symposium.