"Remember Me?" researcher shares memorable story from Holocaust survivor

Uploaded by ushmm on 23.08.2011

Jo-Ellyn Decker: I've been involved with the "Remember Me?" project since the very beginning.
In November of 2010, my colleague Sara Clark and I went to Cincinnati to the American Jewish
Archives, where we scanned, organized and indexed about a thousand photo that were taken
of children in the post-war era, in various place we're finding out now. And, since then,
I've spoken to about seven or eight survivors in the United States, Canada and England.
And we've been able to identify over a hundred--almost 140, I do believe--individuals involved in
the project now. Well I talked to Marcel Chojnacki yesterday, and I had spoken with his brother
Israel, both of whom are featured in the "Remember Me?" project. And he and his brother Jacob
and his brother Israel were in hiding in Belgium during the war. And they had actually been
in an orphanage about 1942, and that orphanage was raided by the Gestapo and members of the
SS and had actually been taken to the Mechelen concentration camp--the entire orphanage,
all the children and the staffmembers. And, before they could be deported, Queen Elizabeth
of Belgium actually intervened and had all the children and all the staffmembers released.
In general, the reaction to the project from the survivors has been really positive. There's
a lot of shock, and a lot of surprise. For some of these, you know, survivors, it's been
almost seventy years since they've seen these photos or they've thought of these times.
And it's a blessing and a curse, I think, for most of them because it reminds them of
what they lost, but it also reminds them of their, however brief, childhood.