The LA Summer Interns Learning Filmmaking — And Documenting Holocaust Survivors' Stories

The video interviews filmed and audio recorded by the interns will be available at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (Photo by Carla Javier/KPCC)

Interns at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust are spending the summer learning how to use cameras, lighting, and sound equipment to record interviews with Holocaust survivors. Once completed, the video interviews will be available online and at the museum for visitors.

We spoke to one of the interns, and the woman she interviewed, 92-year-old Lili Markowitz, about the experience. Markowitz's family chimed in, too.

(Comments edited and condensed for clarity)

Sivan Ellman, intern

Ellman is a rising junior at The Archer School for Girls. She interviewed Markowitz for about one-and-a-half hours. She said she had never done something like this before, and had only recorded histories via iPhone. She said it was important to learn how to film the interview, rather than just writing it down, because of the power of the visual medium.

I could tell that she was very nervous when talking about it, you don't get that if you saw it on paper. It took some time for her to get comfortable and start sharing ... Also this sense of personable-ness and that she was a human being, and not just a story, which I think is really, really important for people to connect with. Because we just tend to look at Holocaust stories as stories, events. But it was actually people's lives that were taken and affected. So I just think it's really important to keep that in mind.

Ellman said she was most interested in Markowitz's life before the Holocaust:

I feel that a lot of people talk about the Holocaust talk about the Holocaust only and not about that their lives. So I was really interested in like her early memories of the child and how it was growing up in a time where being Jewish wasn't frowned upon. And she was sort of a carefree kid. Sadly, she doesn't remember a lot of the time, and I totally get it's been like, 80 plus years.

She said she thinks the interview will be important for future generations, too.

These women are dying. These men are dying ... It's really important for future generations to look back on a world that we had and that people created so that they don't create something like this in the future.

Edie Greenbaum, daughter of Lili Markowitz

Greenbaum lives in Venice now. She said she was glad her mom was able to share her story with the youth.

My mother is a Holocaust survivor. She was interred in Auschwitz for one year ... I feel good for my mother. It's been years I've been talking to her about this, that I think that she needs to do it. And I'm really happy that she did it. And I know know how difficult it was for her. And it's not easy to even hear, even though I've heard these memories over and over again. It's never easy.

Hopefully, she'll be around a long time, but we don't know. But she will have other great grandchildren that will never know her. And they'll only hear about her. And this way they can see and really know her story and hear her story from her. And to me, that's a wonderful thing.

Lili Markowitz

Markowitz said she was hesitant to do the interview, because it's painful to remember and recount her memories during the war and Holocaust.

It was very hard for me to talk about it. That's why I came very late. It's been so many years. It was hard. It's always hard ... They should know about it because they say now there was no Holocaust. This is ridiculous. That's why they have to talk about it and say it was ... [The interns] were very nice to me. They didn't pressure me. I tried my best, honey.