On March 26, 2012, the singer/songwriter, Jem and I, arrived in Slovakia to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the first mass registered transport of Jews to Auschwitz. What we discovered when we arrived was not what we expected.
There were ceremonies and newspaper reports, the prime minister was involved and in the small station of Poprad where the transport originated from candles had been lit; stones and flowers had been left. Others had been there before us. Who were those people?
A few days later, we heard that the niece and nephew of one of the girls on that transport had placed the mementos we found, in honor of their aunt Adela Gross, who disappeared when she was 16 years old and was never heard from again.
I am a Holocaust biographer and co-author of the only memoir ever written by a survivor on the first transport: Rena's Promise. The survivor I wrote about knew Adela Gross and witnessed Adela being selected and taken to the gas chamber. Seventy years later--because of our trip to Slovakia--the Gross family has finally learned what had happened to 16-year-old Adela in Auschwitz.
How many more stories are there out there? How many of those original girls actually survived over three years in the camps? Over the past year I have begun to find their stories and to discover the truth behind the first transport. Now I want to get them on film for a documentary: FIRST TRANSPORT TO AUSCHWITZ - THE STORY OF 999 GIRLS.
With your help, we will be able to start chronicling this important part of women's history before it is too late. The few survivors still alive are in their late 80s and 90s.
What better time to launch this Kickstarter Campaign than during Women's History Month and as the 72nd Anniversary of the First Mass Transport to Auschwitz nears. There are only a few of these brave women left alive today and time is of the essence to record their stories now for posterity. Your support will help me rent the necessary camera equipment, travel to the regions of the world where these survivors are still living and interview them with their family members. From there I will take the footage so that I can apply for grants and go to production companies with our project.
Bless you, Heather Dune Macadam
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge is getting these survivors recorded before it is too late. Those still living are in their 80s and some are in their 90s. In order to capture them telling their stories, we have to fly to Israel, Slovakia, California, Ohio, Florida...
There are also family members though who survived, or who were born of survivors who know the stories of these young women. Why they were sent to Auschwitz. How they were collected. How within a few weeks thousands of young Slovakian Jewish women arrived in Auschwitz.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (19 days)