Survivors who teach truth will always be our greatest strength. Finding listeners is one of their greatest joys.
As part of the making of a Holocaust oral history documentary film, Holocaust survivor Allan Hall found those listeners at Miami Beach Senior High School. He told the ninth-graders how he hid in a closet and smelled smoke from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Survivor Fred Mulbauer told the students how he lost both parents when he was about their age, only 14, at Auschwitz.
Survivor Laszlo Shelly told them of hearing rapid gunfire as Hungarian Jews were cast into the Danube River.
Survivor Alex Gross told of enduring a death march in the last weeks of World War II before being saved by American soldiers.
The oral history project at Beach High’s Scholars Academy is led by language arts teacher David Reese, who teaches Florida-mandated Holocaust studies in his classes. For more than a decade, he has taken students to tour the nearby Holocaust Memorial.
Together they have made “Names, Not Numbers: A Movie in the Making at Miami Beach Senior High School.” The documentary chronicles the 20 students as they learn how to make their own film. They were taught journalism-interviewing techniques, film- making skills, and historical context of the Holocaust as they met and bonded with four local survivors in the yearlong project.
“Most importantly, it is clear that this project is about training our future leaders to fight racism and intolerance,” Reese said.
Beach High is the first public high school in the country selected to participate in the Names, Not Numbers New York-based national program that records interviews with elderly survivors of the Holocaust.
Reese was inspired to seek a grant for the project by Danny Reed, education and grant coordinator at the Holocaust Memorial. The program had only been available to students at private Jewish schools until now.
“Promise me that if you ever come up to a Holocaust denier,” Mulbauer told his student interviewers, “You will say: ‘I met a Holocaust survivor. It is true.”
“I am distressed with what is going on in our country today, a nation actually built by immigrants,” Hall said in the final segment of his interview filmed by the students in late February. “It’s like the 1930s all over again. People are running for their lives. We seem to have no compassion.”
The film is one hour long and will be shown free to the public at 6:45 p.m., April 22, in the auditorium of Miami Beach Senior High School, 2231 Prairie Ave., Miami Beach.
Funding came from the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach with support from the Florida Department of Education. The Names, Not Numbers program is an interactive, multimedia Holocaust film documentary project created in 2005 by Yeshiva University High Schools educator Tova Rosenberg. She will be in the audience at the screening of the Beach High documentary.
To get involved, visit https://www.namesnotnumbers.org
Musicians give back
Many of us know about our New World Symphony and its WALLCAST concerts. The young classical musicians are the future stars in global music.
What we don’t all know is how these musicians do community service for groups they are passionate about.
The program is called BLUE for Build, Learn, Understand and Experiment. Over the past month, the Fellows, as they are called, have performed for seniors at Floridian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and for patients at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. An Orchestra Petting Zoo introduced children to musical instruments.
The next experience is “Tales From the Harp” at 2 p.m., April 28, at North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183 St., Miami Gardens. The NWS Fellow for this event is Chloe Tula.
Support for the NWS BLUE projects is from the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, and the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund program of the League of American Orchestras with funding from the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation. More is at https://www.nws.edu
Getting off to a healthy start
Congratulations to the award winners at the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade Annual Awards and Recognition Luncheon. The group celebrated the work of clinicians, case managers, colleagues, volunteers, board members, and staff.
“For the past 17 years, The Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade has proudly served Miami-Dade County as a leader in maternal, infant and child health,” said Manuel Fermin, Healthy Start’s CEO.
NBC 6 Meteorologist Adam Berg served as the Master of Ceremonies.
The Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade is a community-based, non-profit organization that serves as the county’s prenatal and infant care coalition. Learn more at www.hscmd.org.
Free chamber concert
Everyone is invited to enjoy the free 13th annual chamber and solo concert presented by the Greater Miami Symphonic Band at 4 p.m., April 28 at Kendall United Methodist Church, 7600 SW 104th St., Pinecrest.
The performance will include a clarinet ensemble, a flute choir, many solos, and the GMSB Big Swing Band led by singer Susie Blank Wolfe.
Another performance will be “It’s Show Time! Stage & Screen Classics,” 8 p.m., May 7 at Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables. Tickets are $5-$15. Visit www.GMSB.org for more.