Oct. 6, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
A LIC-resident and holocaust survivor will be featured in an upcoming documentary series set to premier later in the month, which will examine a nearby holocaust remembrance museum and interview local survivors.
The PBS show Treasures of New York will devote an upcoming episode to The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC), and the work it does.
After nearly two years of interviews and filming at the Center, the episode will delve in to the horror of the holocaust, with first-hand testimonials from survivors and an examination of the work of the HMTC.
Though she has not yet seen the completed episode, HMTC Senior Director of Education and Community Affairs Beth Lilach said that she expects it to show the breadth of programming offered at the HMTC, including educational programming, professional development, and research in to the lesser-known history related to genocide and the holocaust.
“They really covered a wide range of material, they filmed at our events and programs, and also interviewed survivors, staff, liberators, children of survivors, they covered a lot,” Lilach said.
One of the survivors interviewed for the episode was Alex Rosner of Long Island City, who was the youngest person saved by the German industrialist Oskar Schindler. He was nine.
“Alex has an absolutely fascinating history,” Lilach said. She explained that he and his parents were sent to the Krakow ghetto, and his mother fell under the protection of Schindler, a member of the Nazi party known for helping Jews, while working at his factory.
Rosner and his father were later sent to Auschwitz, where his father played his violin for the Nazis in exchange for his son’s safety. Rosner later joined his father by playing an accordion that was given to him by a Nazi guard.
“The accordion is such a powerful story because on the one hand it represents that this instrument helped save his life, and is a symbol of salvation and life, but on other hand not his when he entered the camp, so it’s likely that another child came in with it and was murdered,” Lilach said.
Rosner and both of his parents lived through the holocaust and were reunited afterwards.
The accordion is now on display at HMTC, while his father’s violin is on display at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
The documentary episode will feature stories of other survivors as well..
“I hope people watch the show and realize what an amazing resource we have here on Long Island,” Lilach said. “We try to offer as diverse programming as possible to reach out to everyone.”
“Everything that we do here from tours to events to youth and adult programming, everything is to inspire and teach people and give people the tools that when they are confronted with injustice and intolerance they have the tools and self esteem to take action, not to be a passive accomplice,” Lilach said.
The 30-minute episode will premiere on Thursday, October 20, 2016, at 8 p.m. on WLIW21 and Sunday, October 23, 2016, at 7 p.m. on THIRTEEN. After October 20 it will stream online at watch.wliw.org.