Sunday, Jan. 6, 3 pm
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 800 packed the Tidewater Community College’s Roper Theater in downtown Norfolk last March to attend the premiere of the documentary, What We Carry. Featuring the memories, insights and inspirational messages of four local Holocaust survivors, the professionally produced film profoundly touched those who saw it.
Since then, hundreds more have seen the movie, or segments of it, but almost exclusively in a classroom or meeting room setting.
The greater community will have the opportunity to see the film again, in its entirety at Congregation Beth Chaverim, 3820 Stoneshore Rd. in Virginia Beach. The Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater will present the encore screening of What We Carry, with a reception immediately following the movie.
The 63-minute documentary combines personal photographs and mementos, archival film footage, an original score, present-day interviews (conducted in 2010) and narration from the survivors themselves. The film is broken into four segments, highlighting the lives of Dana Cohen, David Katz*, Hanns Loewenbach* and Kitty Saks.
“This documentary was created because we had to face the difficult fact that Holocaust survivors are getting older and no one lives forever,” says Elena Barr Baum, Holocaust Commission director. “We wanted to find a way that their stories could live on, but when we lost both David and Hanns last January before the movie even premiered, it struck us all very deeply and we’re still feeling their loss.”
The encore screening fulfills the requests of community members who were unable to attend the premiere, and serves as a tribute to Katz and Loewenbach. Their families will attend the screening and will briefly share personal memories of the men that this community so greatly admired.
“We want to honor and remember these men, and remember the stories that they freely and frequently shared with so many. What better way to do that then to come together as a community and listen to them tell us their stories, and to ensure they are not forgotten?” says Baum.
Seeing What We Carry in its entirety is a special opportunity. Designed to be broken into four distinct mini-documentaries by its creators—award winning television producers and filmmakers Janice Engel and Amber Howell—each portion is part of the larger What We Carry educational program. In addition to showing a specific survivor’s film segment, the docent-led program also includes World War II-era suitcases containing reproductions of items seen in the film, as well as additional personal and historical content. When possible, Cohen and Saks, the two remaining members of the Holocaust Commission’s Speakers’ Bureau, travel to the schools, military groups, and religious and community organizations that schedule What We Carry.
“When the film is shown individually, it’s very impressive,” says Dana Cohen, who plans to attend the encore screening. “Some segments bring pain when you watch it and think back to that time, but the whole idea is that at some time we will no longer be here because life goes on, and it’s important to leave some kind of legacy.
“We tell our stories so that history doesn’t repeat itself. It’s really pathetic to me that things don’t change, from the days when they were throwing Christians to the lions to present day. My hope is that things will change, and history will stop, one day, repeating itself,” says Cohen.
This encore screening of What We Carry is free and open to the public, however RSVPs are requested by Dec. 30 to email@example.com. For more information about the Holocaust Commission of the UJFT and its programs, visit www.jewishva.org/holocaustcommission.
*of blessed memory
by Laine M. Rutherford