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Jtube: This is Your Life: Holocaust Survivor

Jtube: This is Your Life: Holocaust Survivor

Given the time and setting, what do you think about the manner in which the Holocaust is discussed here?

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Given the time and setting, what do you think about the manner in which the Holocaust is discussed here?

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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) benk, August 4, 2017 4:23 PM

sorry for the young lady

I understand the major war was over just a few years ago aginst the Nazis and the host may have wanted to show a survivor that was rescued by US forces. However, I feel it was a major shock to the poor unsuspecting lady. Especially as he was reminding her on national TV and before an audience her parents and husband were killed, (sic) And they were going over how she spent several years in camps. I was amazed at her cheerful composure during much of it - but it looks like at the very end of the show if you look she puts her head on her arm probably crying. At the same time one can see how this lady and her survivor lady friend seem to have been able to fix themselves up looking like everyone else in just a few years. And how she wasn't embarressed in 1950's US TV too be called Channa. That part was inspiring.

(5) Neria, August 3, 2017 7:08 PM

Shocking

I was shocked by the crass, insensitive way of presenting this woman's traumatic experience. I'm sure she was looking for privacy and dignity to recover (if ever) from losing her family, home and human dignity. I don't think they would have showed a soldier who was in either a German or Japanese prison camp.I.e., yes the Holocaust really did happen and this is not amusement. The only bright side is the "pro-Zionist appeal to send contributions to the UJA in Hannah's name to help other less fortunate Jewish refugees/Holocaust survivors rebuild their lives and the sponsor even donating the first $1,000 dollars." as one reader posted. Also it's important to know how casually mainstream 1950's Americans looked at the Holocaust. Let us all be more respectful and sober in the face of other people's suffering.

(4) Deena, August 1, 2017 8:25 PM

Appropriate? Hardly

So weird. I think this poor survivor was just so embarrassed to have her whole life spread out in such a weird and not respectful manner (more like an attention seeking interview) that she just kept smiling. Imagine if you were on t.v. and all the horrors of your life we displayed without any chance for you to answer....you'd probably try to save face and keep a smile, too? I don't agree to the comment above. Most holocaust survivors couldn't speak at that point in their lives because it was just too difficult. Making a t.v. show appearance without permission was probably traumatic for this lady.
I'm surprised this ever aired at all.

(3) Dvirah, August 1, 2017 8:24 PM

Similar Show in Israel

A similar program in Israel featured Ephraim Kishon and even invited the Hungarian nonJew who sheltered him. It was a very emotional moment.
In this program, the emphasis seems to be a bit on American self-praise, but I think at the time it would have awakened some of the audience to the truth of the Holocaust and allowed the woman to see again people that were important in her life - and maybe continue her contact with some of them.

(2) Daniella Ashkenazy, July 31, 2017 1:31 PM

See the entire segment...and don't judge harshly

I'm an American-born Israeli writer. I saw the entire episode that can be viewed here:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/2/items/this_is_your_life_hanna_bloch_kohner/this_is_your_life_hanna_bloch_kohner_512kb.mp4

Yes, the host's tone is slick (typical of ALL such shows in the 1950s) and self-congratulatory as if 'the US cavalry arrived in time…’ But one should not judge the program harshly. In fact, one needs to keep in mind that this was the FIRST TIME millions of American viewers came face-to-face with a Holocaust survivor and her story - not as corpses being pushed into pits by a bulldozer - a real person they could identify with.

To underscore just how MARGINAL the Holocaust was to public discourse: Even in 1961 the Holocaust rated one sentence (!) in the thick chapter on WWII in my 10th grade history textbook, stating laconically: "Six million Jews lost their lives in the Holocaust." This class dovetailed the Eichmann Trial.The dissonance between the two (realization the Holocaust was not core to America's historic narrative/collective memory - the tension between being a Jew and being an American, factored in among a host of forces that led me to move to Israel in 1968.

To get back to This Is Your Life: To have such a guest was admirable, even ground-breaking. While the details of Auschwitz were quickly overshadowed by a conclusion in the full version that 'they lived happily every after...in America, of course' - there was a reunion with her brother - a doctor in Israel that was genuinely touching. Likewise, the incredible saga how her fiancé found her in the chaos of post-War Europe.

Furthermore, the program climaxed with a pro-Zionist appeal to send contributions to the UJA in Hannah's name to help other less fortunate Jewish refugees/Holocaust survivors rebuild their lives and the sponsor even donated the first $1,000 dollars.

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