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    Yom HaShoah Film Screening: "Ver Vet Blaybn?" / "Who Will Remain?"

    One woman’s journey to understand her grandfather | Music in the Afternoon: Community Conversations

    When: Tuesday, 4/18/2023 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM

    Where: Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall (Bldg F)

    We are honored to invite you to this Yom HaShoah event, in remembrance of the six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust.

    12:30 PM | Doors open to the public
    1:00–2:00 PM | Film screening: Ver Vet Blaybn? / Who Will Remain? (English, Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian, with subtitles)
    2:00–2:30 PM | Audience Q&A with film directors Christa P. Whitney and Emily Felder
    2:30–3:30 PM | Snacks, drinks, schmoozing in the Cultural Arts lobby and info display of Wexler Oral History Project

    ** For more information about this event please contact [email protected] or call (650) 223-8616


    Film SynopsisOFJCC Palo Alto JCC
    Attempting to better understand her grandfather Avrom (Abraham) Sutzkever, Israeli actress Hadas Kalderon travels to Lithuania, using her grandfather's diary to trace his early life in Vilna and his survival of the Holocaust. Sutzkever (1913–2010) was an acclaimed Yiddish poet—described by the New York Times as the "greatest poet of the Holocaust"—whose verse drew on his youth in Siberia and Vilna, his spiritual and material resistance during World War II, and his post-war life in the State of Israel. Read Sutzkever's moving poem "A Wagon of Shoes" below.

    Kalderon, whose native language is Hebrew and must rely on translations of her grandfather's work, is nevertheless determined to connect with what remains of the poet's bygone world and confront the personal responsibility of preserving her grandfather's literary legacy.

    Woven into the documentary are family home videos, newly recorded interviews and archival recordings, including Sutzkever's testimony at the Nuremberg Trial. Recitation of his poetry and personal reflections on resisting Nazi forces as a partisan fighter reveal how Sutzkever tried to make sense of the Holocaust and its aftermath. As Kalderon strives to reconstruct the stories told by her grandfather, the film examines the limits of language, geography and time.

    About the Filmmakers

    OFJCC Palo Alto JCCChrista P. Whitney, Producer and Co-Director is originally from Northern California and discovered Yiddish while studying comparative literature at Smith College. She has studied Yiddish language at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, the Workmen's Circle and the Yiddish Book Center. For the past dozen years, she has directed the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, traveling near and far recording oral history interviews, managing a video archive and producing documentary films and web features about all aspects of Yiddish language and culture.

    Emily Felder
    , Editor and Co-Director, is a documentary film editor whose work has been screened in museums, libraries and schools across the country. She studied anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she became invested in archaeology, visual ethnography and non-fiction storytelling. She worked as the premiere technical assistant for the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, and as an assistant editor at Florentine Films/Hott Productions on feature-length documentaries broadcast on PBS. She is now an editor and videographer based in Los Angeles where she continues to make films.

    About the Wexler Oral History Project

    The Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project is a growing collection of in-depth interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds, whose stories about the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture offer a rich and complex chronicle of Jewish history and identity. Since 2010, they have recorded more than 1,000 interviews both in their studios and in the field. For more information on the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, click here.

    Brought to you in partnership with the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project. Funded in part by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. Senior Programs are made possible in part by generous contributions from the John R. Schwabacher Family. We are grateful for the generous support of all of our donors.

    For ages 15+
    Tuesday, April 18
    1:00–3:30 PM
    Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall (Bldg F) | Free parking is available at the venue, through the entrance on Fabian Way
    $10 In advance through Eventbrite or call the Customer Service Desk at (650) 223-8700 | At the door: $20
    Contact: Michelle Rosengaus | mrosengaus @paloaltojcc.org

     Purchase Tickets

    by Avrom (Abraham) Sutzkever (Vilna Ghetto, July 30, 1943)
    The wheels they drag and drag on,
    What do they bring, and whose?
    They bring along a wagon
    Filled with throbbing shoes.
    The wagon like a khupa
    In evening glow, enchants:
    The shoes piled up and heaped up,
    Like people in a dance.
    A holiday, a wedding?
    As dazzling as a ball!
    The shoes—familiar, spreading,
    I recognize them all.
    The heels tap with no malice:
    Where do they pull us in?
    From ancient Vilna alleys,
    They drive us to Berlin.
    I must not ask you whose,
    My heart, it skips a beat:
    Tell me the truth, oh, shoes,
    Where disappeared the feet?
    The feet of pumps so shoddy,
    With buttondrops like dew—
    Where is the little body?
    Where is the woman too?
    All children's shoes—but where
    Are all the children's feet?
    Why does the bride not wear
    Her shoes so bright and neat?
    'Mid clogs and children's sandals,
    My Mama's shoes I see!
    On Sabbath, like the candles,
    She'd put them on in glee.
    The heels tap with no malice:
    Where do they pull us in?
    From ancient Vilna alleys,
    They drive us to Berlin.
    My every breath is a curse.
    Every moment I am more an orphan.
    I myself create my orphanhood
    With fingers, I shudder to see them
    Even in dark of night.
    Once, through a cobblestone ghetto street
    Clattered a wagon of shoes, still warm from recent feet,
    A terrifying
    Gift from the exterminators…
    And among them, I recognized
    My Mama's twisted shoe
    With blood-stained lips on its gaping mouth.
    —Mama, I run after them, Mama,
    Let me be a hostage to your love,
    Let me fall on my knees and kiss
    The dust on your holy throbbing shoe
    And put it on, a tfillin on my head,
    When I call out your name!
    But then all shoes, woven in my tears,
    Looked the same as Mama's.
    My stretched-out arm dropped back
    As when you want to catch a dream.
    Ever since that hour, my mind is a twisted shoe.
    And as once upon a time to God, I wail to it
    My sick prayer and wait
    For new torments.
    This poem too is but a howl,
    A fever ripped out of its alien body.
    No one to listen.
    I am alone.
    Alone with my thirty years.
    In their pit they rot—
    Those who once were called


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