Kurt & Tessye Simon Fund for Holocaust Remenbrance Survivor's Stories  
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For Teachers & Students Intro to the Holocaust Genocide Resources About Kurt & Tessye Simon
The People Next Door
Introduction from Rabbi
The People Next Door

Project History

The People Next Door video was funded by the Kurt & Tessye Simon Fund for Holocaust Remembrance and Temple Beth-El in South Bend, Indiana.  The Florence Carroll Foundation of South Bend provided additional funding. 

The program was produced by Golden Dome Productions in South Bend. Shooting began in June of 1995 and extended through September of that same year. Kurt and Tessye Simon were taped along with twenty-three survivors and liberators in an attempt to capture their personal memories, stories and experiences for future generations. 

Approximately 35 hours of interview footage was collected and integrated into the program with historic film footage and photos supplied from the United States Holocaust Museum, the National Archives in Washington, DC, and Yad Vashem

The final program was completed in 1996. 

Rabbi Morley Feinstein offered these remarks about the program:  

You are about to meet many people who moved to the South Bend, Indiana area because of the disruptions that occurred in their lives during the Nazi rise to power and the Holocaust of the 1930s and 40s.  

They are people who are your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers.  Though each of them had a unique path which brought them here, all of them survived the Holocaust.  This binds them together having faced loss and deprivation, tragedy and crisis, brutality and torture in a way few of us can comprehend. The Shoah – the Hebrew term for the Holocaust which really means annihilation-- was a brutal reminder of how some people, twisted by their own ideology, hatred, anti-Semitism and bigotry-- sought to devalue human life. They sought to exterminate Jews and Judaism.

This project is a testimony to their experiences. It's not the entire history of World War II, but it is their story. They were witness to an unimaginable event. Their tales teach us that life is indeed fragile, that it is valuable and precious. Their stories teach us that such degradation and evil should never happen again. We should never forget the lessons learned from the Holocaust. As Jews, the memory of the Holocaust is seared deep within our souls as a goad to create a better world. It teaches us to speak out against bigotry and racism, anti-Semitism and human indifference. It mandates that we care for the lowly and the weak, the powerless among us. It compels us to cherish the differences among us, and to help others in need..  We should never forget the lessons learned from the Holocaust.  The Holocaust is unlike any other event.  It can teach us to act ethically and morally in a world sometimes void of conscience. Remember the words of the Talmud, "one who destroys a single life, it is as though the entire world is destroyed, but one who saves a single life, it is as though the entire world is saved."

© Kurt & Tessye Simon Foundation for Holocaust Remembrance