For years, hours of videotaped interviews with survivors of the Holocaust sat packed away in a closet in Brookline, Massachusetts. Now, a filmmaker has rescued those old tapes, weaving dozens of interviews together into a “living memorial” for survivors.
Harvey Bravman said he knew the Holocaust tapes would change his life. That scared him.
“I was afraid of what I might hear. I was afraid I couldn’t do it,” said Bravman, director and producer of the work-in-progress film Soul Witness: The Brookline Holocaust Witness Project.
“These people went through great pains to tell these stories, and most of them had never told these stories to even their own family members,” said Bravman.
Bravman is talking about dozens of hours of interviews, recorded in the 1990s with Holocaust survivors living in Brookline.
The original idea was to edit the interviews down, but for the town, it was a big — and expensive — task.
Some of the raw recordings were sent to an archive at Yale University. Others went into storage, where they sat for over 20 years, until Lloyd Gellineau, the town’s chief diversity officer, started going through the old stockpile.
He soon learned the tapes were interviews with Holocaust survivors.