Welcome to Bearing Witness at UCLA by hcj


									                      Welcome to Bearing Witness at UCLA!

What is Bearing Witness?
Bearing Witness is a Holocaust living history program created at UCLA that provides an
opportunity for college students to interact and engage in meaningful conversations with
Holocaust survivors in an effort to bridge the generational gap, a feat that rarely is
achieved by most college programming. Bearing Witness offers a personal and intimate
setting for survivors to share their stories and for students to listen, ask questions and take
notes of the things they hear throughout the sessions. To ensure the preservation of the
survivor’s life stories, the students submit reports that detail their impressions after each

How did BW develop?
BW was started last year by Adena Schutzman for college students in partnership with
Hillel at UCLA and Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS), with generous funding
from the Donald A. Strauss Foundation and DOROT. This year, Sandra Hanian, a
second-year undergraduate political science and history major, and Anna Konstorum , a
second-year graduate student in physiological sciences, have taken charge as student

What does the program consist of?
Bearing Witness begins in January and consists of four bimontly lunch sessions held at
Hillel at UCLA in which each student participant (or small group of students) is paired
with a Holocaust survivor. Over the course of the four meetings during UCLA’s Winter
Quarter (January-March 2009: 01/21, 02/11/, 02/25, 03/04), the survivors discuss their
life stories with their student partners, describing their experiences during WWII and the
Holocaust in the belief that the power and strength of survival manifests in both living
through and beyond the tragedy of the Holocaust. The first three sessions are of the “one
survivors-small group of students” format, and they are divided chronologically to
include the seniors’ lives before, during, and after the Holocaust. The last session is a
“round table” discussion involving all participants sharing feelings and thoughts about
the program and the impact it has had on them. There will also be additional group
events such as a 'field trip' to the Museum of Tolerance and possibly co-ordinating
activities with other student groups on campus.

What are the future directions of the program?
Students will leave the program with a personal history of the Holocaust while seniors
will have the opportunity to share their stories and experiences and understand college
students’ conceptions of the Holocaust. The ultimate goal of Bearing Witness for this
year is to empower students with personal stories of Holocaust survivors so that the
memories and lessons of Hitler’s war against the Jews may be passed down to every
Next year, we plan to expand Bearing Witness further by developing a curriculum that
other interested high schools, universities, and social service agencies can use as an
inspiration and template to launch their own inter-generational discourse programs. Our
website will largely facilitate these efforts by allowing other groups to view our
experience, as well as encouraging them to participate in a similar program and send their
stories and experiences (after following a few privacy guidelines) for display on our
website. After this year, we plan to connect with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute in
an effort to contribute Holocaust survivor stories to its archives, as some of the survivors
we meet have never told their story before. At its most ambitious, Bearing Witness can
spread throughout the United States and, with time, to the international community with a
grassroots mission to record and collect Holocaust survivor stories and to present them in
a centralized venue.

We thank you for your time and look forward to having you at Bearing Witness this
year at UCLA!

If you have any questions, please contact Anna (anna.konstorum@gmail.com) or
Sandra (shanian@ucla.edu).

Below is a copy of an ‘Agreement of Participation’ that we ask all participants to
sign and return to us. The full Agreement is found in a separate file, which can be
downloaded or signed electronically.

What do we expect of student participants?
1. To show utmost respect to survivors and fellow students at all times during the program and outside of
the program. In addition, to adhere to the confidentiality agreement that your senior chooses: some may
want their names recorded, some may only want initials, and some may want to be recorded as anonymous
speakers. Please be respectful of this.
2. A commitment to attend 3 out of 4 sessions. This is important in order for a personal level of
communication to be established between the survivors and the students.
3. Documentation. Although the cornerstone of our program is the intergenerational connections we will
foster, documenting these stories is also critical to BW. These may be the last chances to put these stories to
paper, and it will be your responsibility to make these stories permanent. With this in mind, we will be
flexible as to the method you choose to record the stories. You can write out the stories, as we did last year,
at about six pages per person (2 pages per session). You may want to work in groups to do this if you are
all speaking to the same survivor. You may also think about other methods to express the stories, such as
poetry. Be creative, but keep in mind expectation (1). Remember, your stories will be displayed on a
website for the whole world to read, and we hope to extend this program to other universities in the US, so
you will be setting a model.

Bearing Witness at UCLA
Student Participant Agreement

I,_________________________________, agree to participate in Bearing Witness at UCLA as detailed
by the expectations below.

1. I will show utmost respect to survivors and fellow students at all time during the program and outside of
the program. In addition, I will adhere to the confidentiality agreement that the senior with whom I speak
2. I commit to attend 3 out of 4 sessions.
3. I will document the story that is presented to me in a respectful and careful manner.
______________________________ __________________________
Signature E-mail
______________________________ ___________________________
Date Phone number

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