Who will tell the story when the last survivor is gone? As we approach the end of the last generation of Holocaust survivors, the world is confronted by this haunting – and sadly – ultimate question. My Survivor takes a fresh look at this inevitable reality by exploring the life-changing experiences of some of the five hundred University of Miami students who participated in a landmark educational initiative. This dynamic group of young adults learned about the Holocaust through the intimate intergenerational relationships they forged with members of this remarkable, but rapidly disappearing survivor population.
Launched in the spring of 2004, The University of Miami’s Holocaust Survivors Student Internship Program paired university students with Holocaust survivors to create a core of young adults committed to learning about the Holocaust while providing friendship and support to this singular but aging population. For most of the students, it was the first time they had ever met a Holocaust survivor or formed a meaningful friendship with someone of advanced age. In their own words, this year-long experience of intimate visits and group meetings, revealing conversations and shared meals proved to be the most significant of their college years.
The Holocaust Survivors Student Internship Program was initiated by the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, in collaboration with the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, and the George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies. The program ended in May of 2016, as the number of survivors dwindled.
My Survivor takes the viewer on a journey, revealing the strong and sometimes surprising emotional bonds that developed between this group of diverse students and the survivors they came to love and respect. Woven together with in-depth interviews, dramatic historic and contemporary news footage and unforgettable location filming, My Survivor tells a compelling story. It reveals how college students came to be a strong voice against Holocaust denial and hate, standing as witnesses to history and embracing the survivors’ pleas that the memory and the lessons of the Holocaust live on – when the last survivor is gone.
My Survivor is being developed for broadcast distribution. It is being underwritten by philanthropic donations.
The producers also plan to develop a shortened version of the documentary tailored for high school and college classroom use, along with a companion academic guide.
A theatrical release is contemplated for My Survivor, qualifying it for film festival entry and documentary award consideration.