"The sheer magnitude of the Holocaust is too much to comprehend when presented with statistics. This Melton course has made it personal for me. The raw, unfiltered stories from diaries hit home. Those written by children still maintain some innocence. The hardest were diaries written by families in hiding and some of the desperately tragic choices that parents of very young children were presented with. I was heart-broken. Week on week we sit with the hopes and horrors of Jewish people struggling for survival. Sadly, many of the authors never made it through alive but they live on in written memories. When we say 'Never again' it really must mean never again. Today if a Jewish person is intimidated or attacked simply for being Jewish, or businesses are boycotted because their owners are Jewish, we must call it out for what it is – antisemitism – and it is not ok!"
I could never have imagined what an impacting journey I was about to embark on, when I accepted your kind offer to do the Melton Course with Richard Friedman.
The Holocaust through Diaries and Memoirs, has been a remarkable learning experience. Weekly I have been rivetted to the lessons, truly coming to grips with the difficult real subject at hand, the emotive writings and the wise guidance and teachings of the wonderful Richard Friedman.
The diversity of the class, brought this subject into a different perspective and for me it was both an honour and privilege to have had this opportunity. As we complete the course this afternoon, I am indebted to you all for encouraging me to participate.
Despite the difficult and very emotional topics, I have seen the Holocaust from a different view point and if permitted, may I say that I have relished in every minute of the course. Thank you so very much.
I should like to pay tribute Richard for bringing this course to our screens in such an inspiring manner, and to Claudia for all her efforts in coordinating the course.
I found the course a unique way of accessing a very dark period of our history, and it has impressed upon me the incredible potential of pre-WWII European Jewry that was devastated during the Holocaust. The diaries of the children in particular "speak to me", and I hope this will be a lesson to us all, and similarly the pieces from last week at time of liberation highlight the transition from death camp to post-war life. In essence, let us live our lives to the full, and thereby make a positive impact upon those we ultimately leave behind.
With many thanks and my very best wishes to Richard, Claudia, Viv, Lauren and all my classmates!
I must say that this course has been an experience more than a class for me. I think that the design was outstanding, the content incredibly interesting and the presentation absolutely superb. I have enjoyed, hated and loved this course but more than anything I have learnt so very much. The inputs by fellow travelers have given me much food for thought. The part that upset me terribly was the Jewish lady who converted to Christianity for her husband's sake and to provide unity in the home for her four children. Her husband then joined the Nazi party and divorced her and did nothing to save her when the deportations began. I think I was appalled by the complete abandonment of her by a man who had lived so intimately with her for so long. The lack of empathy for her and the plight of their children not touching him chillingly reminded me of how cruel some people can be by complete passivity. I was so incredibly uplifted to learn that one of the grandchildren became a practicing religious Jew. It felt to me that some circle had been completed. I also became immensely encouraged by the keeping of faith by those living in the most appalling circumstances and for once I think I vaguely grasped Dante's concept of a lack of hope being the worst sin against G-d.
I cannot recommend this experience highly enough. Congratulations on achieving a level of excellence rarely seen in these times.
As a guide taking school groups around the Centre in Cape Town for 10 years, I felt that I had learnt a lot about the holocaust.
This course opened my eyes and my heart to the touching personal stories of so many who suffered the atrocities and died. Richard, your phrase "the choice less choices" resonated and has stayed with me.
I particularly felt so sad about the choices the Jewish police had to make.
Whatever their motives for signing up for the job, they had to select those poor souls and send them to their deaths.
I salute the courageous mothers and the teenage boys and girls who took on such dangers.
Among all the horror there was still some hope that things would change or that their diaries would survive.
It's been a great privilege to be part of this course. The commitment of those who wrote and bore witness under such horrific circumstances are my heroes, an example of the resistance to be so proud of. Class 2. Children, sticks in my mind.
"In the ghetto there are no children but small Jews" by J. Zelkowicz.
My dedication is to my father's & mother's families, especially my grandmother's who perished in the Shoah and who I never got to meet. To those who made it possible, Richard, Claudia, thank you!
I have thoroughly enjoyed every chapter of the course and found them very interesting. One really gets a sense of what the individuals thought, felt and experienced
Lesson 2: Children: This chapter was the most heart wrenching for me. I think being a mother of 3 children and just the thought of how innocent and helpless the children were and murdered for no reason was absolutely heart wrenching
Lesson 5: Courage and Resilience. I think these 2 characteristics are what stand out for me and blow me away each time. Women have an innate spirituality and intuition
A close family friend that passed away 3 years ago-Esther Teplin- a Holocaust survivor. Please can you dedicate my tea light candle to Esther. As well as to all the beautiful souls that were perished during the Holocaust
I have been enriched by every minute of this course with Richard, and found it incredibly emotional at times. It has been an insight into the untold personal journeys and the human factor that is sometimes forgotten in the vastness of this history.
Thank you for facilitating this course so eloquently and keeping us on track.
Thank you for your input in making this wonderful course happen. It has been a privilege to have taken part in this Holocaust course.
Richard's extensive knowledge and generous sharing thereof have made the course more an experience than simply a set of lectures. The course is dense with much to re visit including books and films to explore.
Memory, memoirs, journals and art documenting personal experiences have profound influence and relevance to humanity. Studying the raw writings of the many people and more movingly for me in some cases, the children has given me greater insight into the minds and souls of the authors laid bare by unmanageable circumstances.
I hope to become a guide at the CTHC and aim to share the knowledge gained during these past weeks.