“No one / bears witness for the / witness,” writes Paul Celan in “Ashglory” (here translated by Pierre Joris). I returned to this poem again and again when, in 2017, I held the role of writing partner for the Sustaining Memories Project, a program created by the Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program in partnership with the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University.
A story about shoes: It was Holocaust Education Week, 2019, and I accompanied Judy Cohen, the 91-year-old survivor whose memoir I was then immersed in — shifting passages, recasting sentences, checking dates and historical data — to a talk she was giving at York University.
In her memoir, A Cry in Unison, Holocaust survivor, educator and human rights activist Judy Weissenberg Cohen tells the story of how she and her “camp sisters” in Auschwitz-Birkenau observed Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
In this activity, students will use testimony to learn about Claire Baum's experiences in hiding during the Holocaust, her moment of liberation and her life after liberation.