How do you interrupt an Auschwitz survivor in an interview as he strays way off topic? How do you balance your need to get his personal story with his need to tell you the history of the Holocaust in a world where the memory of the Nazi genocide is fading further and further into history? What imprint does hearing stories of evil over and over again leave on you?
Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious death camp by Soviet troops, the AFP team in Jerusalem interviewed 11 survivors to produce a multimedia package.
Each journalist faced his own difficulties in doing so. Text reporter Michael Zeev Blum, who grew up in a world where the memory of the Holocaust was ever-present, searched for details of his grandfather whose name he bears. Photographer Menahem Kahana couldn’t help but hear echoes of his parents. Bureau chief Guillaume Lavallee kept thinking of how to keep a handle on and do justice to the heartbreaking material. Video journalist Ahikam Seri heard the stories in a new light and saw something he hadn’t noticed before.