True Lessons from Holocaust Survivors in Rammerstorfer’s New Book
Austria (PRWEB) August 28, 2013
In concert with an unusual panel of victims of Nazi tyranny, author Bernhard Rammerstorfer rekindles the memories that illuminate powerful gem-stories of Holocaust survivors in Taking the Stand: We Have More to Say. Shedding light on the ability of the human spirit to survive, recover and even triumph in the face of repression, aggression, loss, and every attempt to destroy it or break its will, he conducted one-on-one interviews with nine individuals with widely differing experiences, using a set of 100 questions.
Some interviewees’ experiences have previously formed the backbones of award-winning films and include such notable individuals as Leopold Engleitner, Renee Firestone, and Adolf Burger. They are joined by international Holocaust lecturer Simone Liebster and the nine year long imprisoned Richard Rudolph whose internment spanned most of the duration of Nazi rule. Rammerstorfer coaxes deep from their vivid memories stunning and moving accounts of their encounters with the Nazi regime. Further, he has been able to draw forth their message to a younger generation that deserves to receive and value this legacy.
National Socialism, or Nazism, was the ideology of the Nazi Party in Germany and related movements outside the country. It was a far-right variety of fascism embracing the ideology of biological racism and intolerance. Under the control of Adolf Hitler, the racist German nationalist movement militantly asserted that an Aryan master race was superior to all other races and that the extermination of Jews, the physically and mentally disabled, or the members of some minorities, among others, was necessary to maintain its "purity". It aggressively put its ideology into practice by systematically detaining and killing massive numbers of individuals both outrightly and through the attrition of forced enslavement.
In 2006, Rammerstorfer started collecting questions for Holocaust survivors posed by schoolchildren and students. Supported by Holocaust institutions and memorials such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel, The South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation, the Sydney Jewish Museum in Australia, and the Center for Jewish Studies Shanghai in China, he gathered 1,400 questions from 61 schools and universities on 6 continents. Together with his scientific adviser, they distilled these to a select 100 questions, which he used to conduct this significant and unique endeavor.
The interviews nurture the uncovering of details from years of persecution and of differing conditions that prevailed in the concentration camps; the questions invite the victims to speak of their formative years and to describe their private family background; this genuinely caring approach encourages the spontaneous recounting of the most frightening moment for each victim and reveals their survival strategies. As survivors go on to tell of the role played by religion or an ideology, their liberation, postwar life and social reintegration, physical and mental scars, personal strategy for coming to terms with the past, memories of historically significant events, personal lessons and maxims, awareness-raising activities and personal legacy, current life and worldview, future plans, and, ultimately, advice and a message for future generations, we are moved to respect and appreciate the people who were able to survive and found the courage to "take the stand" for our benefit.
The valuable insights emanating from this book come from the witnesses of history themselves. And, since these questions came from educational institutions around the globe, Taking the Stand: We Have More to Say is a product of not merely one, but of many minds.
Bernhard Rammerstorfer, born in 1968, is an author and filmmaker who has produced a number of publications and films relating to National Socialism that have been released in various languages in the countries of Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Croatia, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. His meticulous pursuit of historical accuracy has earned the respect of fellow researchers and historians. He has given lectures at schools, universities and memorial sites in Europe and the USA, including Dresden University, Vienna University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, UCLA, and Stanford University. He has also worked as project manager for educational multimedia productions for schools and earned the "Comenius Award" in Berlin, Germany, the major award for educational productions in Europe. By early 2013, following the 2nd premiere of one of his documentary films in Los Angeles, California (USA), two film festival awards, and the acclaim of more than 500 news articles, online media, TV and radio stations around the globe, the public has rendered homage to his relentlessly passionate drive to be the calm, ordinary, yet powerful voice of those of underserved persecution.
Taking the Stand: We Have More to Say * by Bernhard Rammerstorfer
100 Questions—900 Answers Interviews with Holocaust Survivors and Victims of Nazi Tyranny
Publication Date: May 8, 2013
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 367 pages; 978-1-4797-9418-8
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 367 pages; 978-1-4797-9419-5
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4797-9420-1
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