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New Mexico Holocaust survivors' videos sent to schools
and libraries in six western states.

July 8, 2001
More info: Jim Terr (505) 989-9298

A documentary video interviewing seven New Mexico survivors of the Holocaust has been sent to selected high schools, public libraries and state libraries in the five states adjoining New Mexico—Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Utah—plus Hawaii.

The 56-minute video, "WE WERE THERE: Seven Survivors of the Holocaust," produced in 2000 by Jim Terr of Santa Fe under a grant from the McCune Foundation, The Levinson Foundation, The Stern Memorial Trust and other donors, interviews seven Albuquerqueans who either survived the death camps or lived in hiding or on the run, in fear of the Nazi killing machine before and during World War Two. The nationally-acclaimed video also features archival footage and interviews with two historians and an Albuquerque participant in the Nuremberg Trials who owns some rare Nazi photographs.

Due to interest in this video, Terr secured additional funding to create a four-hour video of the complete interviews from which the 56-minute video was edited, along with written transcripts, and copies have been sent to State Libraries in those six states plus New Mexico. Additionally, copies of the original 56-minute video were sent to an average of 8 schools and 10 public libraries in each of those states.

Terr explained that the importance of the material and the possible regional interest-the interviewees being from New Mexico-motivated him to send the tapes to adjoining states. Hawaii was included because two professors from the University of Hawaii, Peter Hoffenberg and Herbert Ziegler, were also interviewed on the tapes.

Terr said his intent with the video is threefold: to bring history alive by interviewing local participants in this tragic event; to give people a chance to contemplate the ethical and political issues of the Holocaust; and to counteract with first-person testimony the "Holocaust deniers" and hate groups active in our region.

Speaking of that threat and the importance of this video, Susan Seligman, director of the New Mexico Anti-Defamation League, stated, "Representatives of most major white supremacy groups exist here, including The World Church of the Creator, the KKK, [neo-Nazi] skinhead groups, the National Alliance and Posse Comitatus--all of whom are anti-Semitic to some degree.

hese groups have been active for many years. We always need to be aware and vigilant that these groups are working in our region. The Internet tends to be their greatest weapon for spreading their message of hate. Parents and children need to be aware of this influence."

Holocaust survivors in the documentary include Zina Birnberg, an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor from Poland; Hilde Caserio, who was imprisoned in Frankfurt at age 16; Madeleine and Joseph Kesner, whose escape from the Nazis took them across Europe and North Africa; Evy Woods, who was a "hidden child," and Aron Straser, who survived the Stuthoff concentration camp.

Terr is the author of "The New Mexico Driver's Survival Guide" and other books and videos, including several new public service videos currently in production. He also produced a nationally-acclaimed video of interviews of New Mexico veterans of World War Two, including mystery author Tony Hillerman and others, called "IN THEIR OWN WORDS: 12 Veterans of World War Two." (www.bluecanyonproductions.com/ww2.html).

Terr hopes to secure additional corporate, foundation or private funding to place both the Holocaust and World War Two videos in every one of the approximately 15,000 public libraries in the U.S.

Comments on the Holocaust video:

"A memorable and emotional video which valiantly preserves these first-hand stories for future generations, and humanizes history." -Regina Turner, project director, Anne Frank in the World exhibit.

"Astounding. A valuable educational resource. Archival footage and sensitive, honest narration...Each tale is different, and each is arresting in its impact." -Santa Fe Reporter.

"These brave, articulate and dignified survivors tell their stories and discredit the offensive myth that the Nazi atrocities never happened. Jim Terr's one-hour documentary personalizes the unthinkable and preserves these searing and heartbreaking tales for future generations." -HADASSAH Magazine

"The images, unforgettable. The video, touching and horrific at the same time.

"Heartbreaking recollections, harrowing tales." -Jon Bowman, Pasatiempo Magazine

Complete list of supporters of the original video and the 4-hour source video and transcripts: The McCune Foundation, The Sidney Stern Memorial Trust, The Levinson Foundation, Richard Becker, Judy Lear, The Aurora Foundation, Gay Block and Malka Drucker, Yad B'Yad, The Self Reliance Foundation, Regina Turner, Sam and Ethel Ballen, Zaplin-Lampert Gallery, The Candyman, Santa Fe, NM.

Evy Woods, a "hidden child" in Germany during the Nazi era. From the video, "WE WERE THERE: Seven (New Mexico) Survivors of the Holocaust."
Hilde Caserio, who was imprisoned in Frankfurt, Germany at age 16. From the video, "WE WERE THERE: Seven (New Mexico) Survivors of the Holocaust."
Joseph Kesner, whose escape from the Nazis took him across North Africa. From the video," WE WERE THERE: Seven (New Mexico) Survivors of the Holocaust."
Madeleine Kesner, whose escape from the Nazis took her across North Africa. From the video, "WE WERE THERE: Seven (New Mexico) Survivors of the Holocaust."
Zina Birnberg, an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor. From the video, "WE WERE THERE: Seven (New Mexico) Survivors of the Holocaust."

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