Posted by: dutchimport | July 10, 2007

I can’t remember their faces

All the faces are a blur and I can’t even remember one name. I remember the stories I’ve listened to for 2 years, but just bits and pieces of each one, and maybe two stories I remember completely, but I don’t even know their names, nor are their faces clear in my mind.
It struck me hard last night, and I broke down in tears, and I couldn’t stop crying for what seemed to be forever. I might even have cried myself to sleep.

I walked over to the living room, where I have two departing gifts I received from The Shoah Foundation. One of them is a clock, and the time was an hour behind. Who knows how long I had not looked at the clock, probably not since we switched to Daylight Saving Time. As I changed the clock to reflect the correct time, I realized that I might have been behind, just like the clock, but not just one hour, but 2 years. Behind in dealing with almost a 1,000 testimonies of Holocaust survivors over a period of 2 years. I was always able not to let the testimonies affect me too much to get nightmares or other emotional problems. This let me even to belief that I was heartless, cause I felt the stories should have affected me more like it did to other cataloguers at Shoah. The Foundation made a therapist available for all of us, and she was able to talk me out of that thought. I tell everyone that my work and experience at The Shoah Foundation is my most rewarding, and proudest job I ever had, and here I am, only a year and a half after we were all got layed off, I can’t remember the faces, voices and names of the survivors of the Holocaust. I remember my co-workers, The Universal Back Lot, Steven Spielberg, and many other memories of my 2 years of assuring history will be preserved for many generations to come. The real testimonies of about a 1,000 people who survived the Holocaust, the thousands of hours I listened to it all, to make their stories available for everyone to see. For everyone to know what happened, told by survivors who went through it all, to make sure genocide will never happen again. Meanwhile, now in July 2007, the President of Iran doesn’t believe the Holocaust ever took place, another genocide is going on right now in Darfur, and we watched genocides happen in the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda a couple of years ago. So, have we learned anything at all from the Holocaust?

And I…I can’t even remember their faces…and it kills me inside…

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Responses

  1. A) Because no one’s brain is made to retain 1,000s of faces years later on a concious level, much less intimate details about those people. It’s just not a reality. Most people can’t even remember more than 50 faces. it’s just the way the brain works.

    Don’t let that get to you. What you did allowed their stories to survive. Be proud of that.

    That job took a lot out of you and you subconciously did what you had to do in order to get through it. It’s called “survival” which we all do on a daily basis. And now that you’re past it, you can begin to deal with the terrible sadness you channeled on a daily basis. You have the gift that they didn’t have – the gift of being able to deal with it piece by piece, in a more manageable fashion.

    Don’t get yourself down. Don’t let the world’s idiocy or ignorance get you down. The world is difficult enough without us opting to carry the difficulties of the world on our backs. Don’t focus on changing the world. Change YOUR world and slowly, the world entire will bloom.

  2. I agree with Matt. Forgetting is a function of survival. If people remembered all the shit that went down in their lives and the lives of others, they wouldn’t be able to go on.


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