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“We Jews don’t have saints, but we do have tzaddikim, righteous people, people of tzedek, of justice. Perhaps the word could also be translated as ‘decency.’”
– Zuzana Růžičková, Holocaust survivor, speaking about Fredy Hirsch
Fredy Hirsch was a revered Jewish sportsman and youth leader who brightened the lives of children at Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. Born in Aachen, Germany, he was 19 years old when the Nuremberg Laws were imposed, and he fled to Prague. There he began activities as a sports teacher and youth counselor in the Maccabee Hashomer Hatzair Zionist youth movement, and soon became his students’ object of admiration. Together with members of the underground in Auschwitz, he planned a revolt that never came to pass. Using rare photographs, archival footage, the testimonies of survivors, and animation, Dear Fredy is a celebration of a heroic figure who died in the Holocaust fighting for the betterment of others. He has been recognized posthumously by B’nai B’rith International as a Jewish rescuer of Jews.
⇒ March 12-15, watch Rubi Gat‘s film Dear Fredy on your home device. A link will be provided to all who register.
⇒ Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 p.m. US Eastern Time, tune into the program with our distinguished panel of guests. A link will be provided to all who register.
Rubi Gat is an editor and documentary filmmaker based in Jerusalem. He has presented Dear Fredy at numerous film festivals, to wide acclaim. The film won the Houston Film Critics Society Award Grand Jury Prize, the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Festival Vues d’en Face in Grenoble, France, in 2019, and other international recognitions. His previous film Not a Hero depicts the journey of his son, a teenager in a wheelchair, to be accepted to the army like his peers. From 1994 until 2010 he was Chief Video Editor at the BBC bureau in Jerusalem. He is writing a novel on the “first intifada” in Israel.
Dr. Inge Auerbacher (right) is a chemist and Holocaust child survivor who met Fredy Hirsch during her imprisonment at Theresienstadt and recalls learning from him how to perform a handstand. A prolific author and sought-after speaker, she is the author of I am a Star, Beyond the Yellow Star, Finding Dr. Schatz, Children of Terror, Running Against the Wind, and Highway to New York. She is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Louis E. Yavner Citizen Award and a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from Long Island University. She was honored by the German government and delivered the keynote address during the United Nations Days of Remembrance in 2019.
Dr. Nili Keren (left) is an expert on the action of Fredy Hirsch to ease the trauma of children incarcerated in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. She is the author of “Children” in The Holocaust Encyclopedia published by Yale University Press. A disciple of the Holocaust studies pioneer Yehuda Bauer, she taught for many years in the Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv. She was a visiting professor at Stockton University in New Jersey. Her books include Shoah: A Journey into Memory, Fragments of Memory. A History of the Holocaust (with Yehuda Bauer), a book about the children of Theresienstadt, and a Holocaust textbook for high schools in Israel.
Dr. Mordecai Paldiel headed the Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem from 1982-2007. His books include The Path of the Righteous, Sheltering the Jews, Saving the Jews, Diplomat Heroes of the Holocaust, Saving One’s Own: Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust and The Righteous Among the Nations. He teaches at Stern College and Touro College and serves on the Board of the Sousa Mendes Foundation. Thanks to his efforts, there is now a square named for Aristides de Sousa Mendes as well as a street named for Raoul Wallenberg, both in Jerusalem. He is a member of the B’nai Brith committee in Israel honoring Jewish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust.
Registration for this program is closed.