Friday, November 05, 2010


This upcoming documentary about the world's oldest Holocaust survivor looks amazing. 

Actually, the documentary looks just fine - it's the lady, this Alice, who seems amazing.  She's 106 (turning 107 this month), still quite lucid and present and peppy.  Still playing the piano, still maintaining an active social life.  And despite all the hardship and horror she's experienced, still finding joy in life.

The Holocaust has been on my mind a lot during the past few weeks - an unavoidable and ever-present piece of history to contend with when preparing for and taking a trip to Eastern Europe. 

I visited Holocaust memorials in Budapest, Vienna, and Krakow.  I visited the former Jewish neighborhoods of each city.  I went to the Krakow ghetto, to Schindler's factory, to Auschwitz.

In each place I saw videos, looked at pictures, read about living conditions, filled my brain with deportation dates and numbers.  And I felt like the more facts I gathered, the more I learned about the Holocaust, the less I was able to actually comprehend.

I can't comprehend it.  Maybe it's too much, too big, too terrible. Maybe I just don't want to.

What I would like to comprehend, though, is Alice.  I would like to learn her secrets, I would like to share in this joy she maintains.  I would like to know how she strikes a balance between testifying to the ugliness in the world while also celebrating the beauty yet to be found in it.

Looking forward to this movie...

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