Lavi feels a sense of urgency in telling her story because she thinks there are groups that still seek to annihilate Jews and other minorities, she says.
“Schindler had almost nothing to do with the list,” Professor Crowe wrote in yesterday’s New York Times. He added that Steven Spielberg was “a very wonderful, tender man _ but Schindler’s List was theater, and not in an historically accurate way.”
1921 Henry Ford:
As soon as the Jews gained control of the “movies,” we had a movie problem, the consequences of which are not yet visible.
One way to transmit the experience, Lavi says, is movies. She’s grateful for the research work that Spielberg did while making “Schindler’s List,” which won the Academy Award for best picture.
She remembers how her mother made her hide outside in below-zero weather, clutching a standing pipe, as Nazis searched her home in Poland. She remembers her father telling her to swallow a spoonful of cyanide — better than death at the hands of the Nazis — only to have her mother object at the last minute. She remembers seeing her twin cousins shot to death as they ran up a hill at a labor camp.
Lavi was 2 years old when Nazi Germany took over her hometown of Krakow in September 1939. Now 80, she wants to make sure her stories aren’t lost after she’s gone.
“There was no childhood for children my age,” she said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly following International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. “Regularly, we saw, heard, and understood everything the Nazis were doing to us. At 6 years old, children were cynical old people trying to survive.”
Lavi is the youngest survivor to have been on Schindler’s List, the Jews saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler and immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film. Lavi was put in a ghetto in Poland with her family immediately after the Nazi takeover, transferred to a labor camp, and then to Auschwitz.
After being saved by Schindler, who sheltered hundreds of Jews who worked in his kitchen goods and armament factories, Lavi lived a quiet life in Israel. She served in the army, lived on a kibbutz, worked as an administrative assistant, and raised a family. She remembers the early years in Israel when survivors were disparaged as weak and passive. But as interest in the Holocaust increased, she became more vocal in recounting her experience. Now she speaks to groups at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust authority, and travels to Poland every year with a group of high school students.
When there are no more live (fictional) story transmitters, there’s the Israel youth being being programmed by holocaust survivor holograms. They think of everything because they exist on the Holocaust™ myth. Israel needs it for the $doners, financial shakedowns, and their youth to raise them up in fear and hate so that they will kill on command (and even without it).
“It’s true testimony from someone who was there. It’s not a story,” she told JTA in a separate interview last week, adding that once Israelis became interested in the Holocaust, [ when the movies came out] “the survivors opened their mouths and began to tell the story. It’s not just a story. It’s the worst and cruelest thing that happened in the world.”
Although Lavi now regularly returns to Auschwitz, she says the experience still isn’t easy. Each time, she finds herself looking around in horror and crying. But by now she’s used to it.
“Every time I go, I cry here and there because it’s a terrible thing,” she told JTA. “Every person that went there saw the ovens, the gas chambers. Everything was real. It’s very scary, but because I’ve gone so many times, I take it differently. I don’t think about myself. I think about how the kids are reacting.”
Lavi also feels a sense of urgency in telling her story because she thinks the world hasn’t gotten better since she was liberated. There are groups that still seek to annihilate Jews and other minorities, she says.
And she called the Polish bill that will criminalize those who blame Poland for the Holocaust a “disaster.” Yes, she says, Poles were killed, too, at the Nazi death camps. But she adds that the Poles were no angels, citing Polish violence against Jews during and after the war.
“I was in Auschwitz, and there were Polish prisoners,” she said. “But what they say, that the Poles were all sweetness and light? No. In any case, they didn’t really like the Jews.”
As the Holocaust survivor population shrinks — Lavi was born just two years before the war — she sounds conflicted about how best to perpetuate Holocaust memory. On the one hand, she acknowledges that survivors’ stories are extensively documented. On the other hand, she knows nothing is more powerful than a firsthand account.
One way to transmit the experience, she says, is movies. She’s grateful for the research work that Spielberg did while making “Schindler’s List,” which won the Academy Award for best picture.