Because They Speak, We Shall Listen

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On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, take a moment (12 minutes) to listen to an amazing emotional reunion between a Jewish father and son separated by the Nazis during WWII. Until this moment, each thought the other was dead. Listen, and you will witness a remarkable, deeply human moment almost beyond words–in fact, for a time it was.

This program was broadcast live on WOR’s 1947 radio show, Reunion.  We often do not think of this, but we owe a debt of gratitude to the early photo, film, radio, television, and now digital media producers who use their media in service of public history.

Because They Speak, We Shall Listen

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote, “For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory.”  We contend that media producers also have a duty to use their specialized skills and means to bear witness to history, as did WOR Radio in the 1940s and the 2002 Peabody award winning Yiddish Radio Project produced by NPR, Dave Isay, and Henry Sapoznik.  Without their foresight to reach into the past and bring these historic voices into the present, we would be a little less humane.

And so we choose to listen to those who speak. Oral history matters.