2011 Director’s Message from Ann Weiss:
Ann Weiss speaking at Barnes and Noble,2010
In 2011, there will be an expansion of projects already begun, as well as initiation of new projects and new directions.
A few highlights:
In January, I will travel to Paris to participate in a tremendously substantive Holocaust conference, hosted by Karel Fracapane and the French Memorial to the Shoah. Included will be experts from all over Europe, including famed historian/lawyer/author Serge Klarsfeld and noted documentary filmmaker Edward Serotta, founder of Centropa, as well as participants from Israel, South Africa, Australia and all over America – it will truly be an international gathering of good people discussing important topics.
And since my first book, The Last Album (or rather Le Dernier Album), has a French translation, it is important for me to participate.
During January, February and March 2011, Eyes from the Ashes photo exhibition will be extended in Atlanta, and mounted in a new (non-academic), more community-accessible venue, since the outpouring of response when the exhibition was mounted at Emory last year. Now, at Atlanta’s JCC, there will be a new focus on the vibrancy of pre-war European life with new stories resulting from new research, to be shared.
In addition, in March/April, there will be much international travel – both to Jerusalem where my daughter will be getting married and elsewhere in Israel where I connect with survivors I have interviewed.
And in April, I will travel to the Himalayas (Nepal), where I participate in an effort to help impoverished children secure better lives. Though it seems like a stretch – to go from Auschwitz to Katmandu – there is a thread that unites everything I do. Whether I am teaching a class at Emory University or at Epstein School (as I have just done and will soon be doing) or traveling across the world to cast a spotlight on the plight of children at great risk, I see it as part of a continuum.
My participation in this effort stems from a simple impulse – We must not abandon those in desperate need of help – as the Jews in WWII were so bitterly abandoned [though please note that I am NOT EQUATING poverty in troubled areas with murder during the Holocaust]. I believe that when we can do something to help, we are compelled to do so. Please note: My efforts will continue to include others in need, as time progresses – but in addition to my work with survivors, my work with student and adult groups in the Americas, to preserve memory and link memory to action, I feel a great need to reach out to help others, both domestically and abroad.
We are all here for a brief time on earth, some briefer than others. The children in the Holocaust had virtually no chance to live. The children in impoverished countries and in war-torn regions have, in a different but still important way, no real chance to live. Though they may breathe, they do not thrive. Over these next few years, I will travel to areas where needs are great and where, perhaps in some small way, my participation can help – to shed light, to help educate, to relieve hopelessness, in short, to alleviate even one person’s suffering in some way, no matter how small.
Finally, in joining forces with other groups, organizations and individuals, I am hoping to multiply the efforts that one person can make.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and I invite your participation in these expanded efforts – either by joining me with your presence or with your presents, i.e. presents; as in your donations to Eyes from the Ashes Educational Foundation.
I wish you all a year of fulfillment, with vision for what matters to you and a sense of how to attain it, and for all of us, a world of peace.
With warmest wishes and gratitude for your beautiful support,