Monday, May 23rd | 22 Iyyar 5782

January 29, 2020 8:29 am

Why I Remember the Holocaust

avatar by Lana Melman


Jona Laks, survivor of Dr. Josef Mengele’s twins experimentsand her granddaughter, Lee Aldar stand next to the gate with the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work sets you free”) as they start their visit at the Auschwitz death camp in Oswiecim, Poland January 26, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias.

As an expert countering the cultural boycott campaign against Israel, people often ask why I am such a passionate advocate for the arts and Israel.

The answer lies in family, film, and the eternal imprint of the Holocaust on my soul.

Growing up, I was deeply attached to my mother and her extended family. They took us in when we didn’t have anyone or anything else. They united behind us, nurtured us, and loved us.

But it was more than a feeling of being protected; it was a feeling of being connected. All the fun and fights seemed to weave us together — our shared history impacting each of our individual destinies.

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They were a tribe, my tribe, and because of them, I knew I would never be alone.

Then when I was around nine or 10 years old, my sense of place in the world changed forever with the story of the Holocaust and the miracle of Israel.

I remember every detail about the moment I first heard it. Suddenly, my sense of tribe extended far beyond the aunts, uncles, and cousins that populated my life.

I understood in an instant that my destiny was intractably entwined with the fate of Jews everywhere. We are a diverse people leading different lives but united in our fate. We may all be aware of how different we are from one another, but when the sky darkens with hate, to the rest of the world we look amazingly alike.

I have loved the magic of storytelling ever since I can remember. I was blessed with a lengthy career in the entertainment industry, where I experienced the joy of watching the germ of an idea — a mere thought — blossom into a film. I loved all of it — the collaboration, the opportunity to foster understanding, and the enormous satisfaction that comes when the final credits roll.

I believe that art and storytelling is a connective tissue between people and places. It simultaneously reflects the world in which we live and serves as a vehicle for change. It is a flower we must protect and cultivate for future generations.

The story of the Holocaust, however, remains the most impactful story of my life. I take solace in the knowledge that as long as Israel exists, all Jews will have a place on this planet in which to grow old.

And so, I work every day to honor the people I have loved and lost. I work to ensure that my children and their children will always have a place to go, no matter how the winds blow.

And I try to do my part to ensure that the story of the Holocaust will never be forgotten. #WeRemember.

Lana Melman, CEO of Liberate Art Inc., is a leader in combating cultural boycotts against Israel. A 20-year veteran of the entertainment industry, Ms. Melman is a writer, speaker, and Hollywood liaison connecting the international creative community with Israel.

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