Preview: Voices of Diversity - Esther and Li Head Out On A Holocaust Education Trip and Create A Documentary
By Susanne Pacher
Once again, the work on the website continues spinning a web of wonderful new contacts. My awesome dentist, Dr. Rajiv Arya, one of the truly enlightened human beings (we discuss world philosophy while he drills on my molars....), told me last year about this trip he went on a few years ago. He explained that it was a Holocaust education trip and that the entire 2-week journey was documented by two young women from Toronto in a documentary entitled "Those Who Lie Beneath".
Well, no doubt, I had to meet these two creative and ambitious young women. Connecting with Esther Garfin and Li Yeh has been in the making for quite a few months since they are both busy professionals in the television industry in their respective fields of law and business affairs. This Holocaust education and anti-discrimination trip literally fell into their lap unexpectedly in early 2002. At that time, both worked at the same TV production company (although on the non-TV production side of things), and they got the idea to do a documentary on this very unique journey.
With little pre-production on this project, they essentially grabbed a camera person and went off to explore some key sites related to the Holocaust in Germany and Poland. Interestingly, Esther's background is Jewish and one set of grandparents was originally from Poland so Esther has a rather personal connection to the Holocaust. Li, on the other hand, is of Asian descent, and simply wanted to learn more about this particular era in history. To make it even more interesting, the camera person is a young Canadian woman of German heritage who also narrates the documentary. She describes her own personal journey of confronting her fore-father's past.
With a diverse group of 12 other travellers Esther and Li explored various historic sites in Berlin, and the concentration camp of Ravensbr"ck in Germany. Then they headed east on a train (the historical irony of this choice of transportation is not to be missed) to Poland to visit Warsaw, Lodz and Cracow. They visited the extermination camps of Treblinka, Majdanek and Auschwitz. In their words, the harshness progressed the further the trip went on. Esther even had a chance to visit her grandparents' birth town of Kielce, Poland.
What really fascinates me is that this documentary is intended for a diverse audience of people from different ethnic groups and religious affiliations. Even the choice of having the documentary narrated by a young woman of German descent underscores this cross-cultural angle.
"Those Who Lie Beneath" demonstrates that the Holocaust is a tragedy and lesson of pan-human proportions, transcending all faiths, generations and cultures. Ultimately, the documentary reinforces that although some people may have grown tired of hearing about the Holocaust, it continues to hold critical lessons for all of us as hate can exist in any community at any given time.
In the upcoming interview, Esther and Li will talk to us about their personal experiences on this trip, the interesting subthemes in this diverse travel group, the learning experiences and challenges involved in creating this documentary and the insights they gained from this journey.
About The Author
Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions (www.travelandtransitions.com). Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. You will also find stories about life and the transitions that we face as we go through our own personal life-long journeys.
Submit your own travel stories in our first travel story contest (http://www.travelandtransitions.com/contests.htm) and have a chance to win an amazing adventure cruise on the Amazon River.
"Life is a Journey Explore New Horizons".
The story with photos is published at Stories and Photos (http://www.travelandtransitions.com/stories_photos/orlando_regional_history_center.htm)
Susanne Pacher firstname.lastname@example.org