Three individuals are committed to preserving the Holocaust legacy by launching a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter.com to record 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, Alter ‘Al’ Wiener who survived 35 months of captivity in Nazi concentration camps.
In 1939, Nazi troops invaded and occupied Wiener’s hometown of Chrzanów, Poland where they shot his father, and threw him in a pit with 36 others — not to kill him instantly, but to let him suffer and bleed to death. In 1941, Nazi soldiers stormed into Wiener’s home and took his older brother. A year later, at age 15, they came for him. Wiener was imprisoned for 35 months in 5 different concentration camps and he lost 123 members of his extended family due to the brutality of Hitler.
Given Wiener’s age, the project organizers note there is an urgency in preserving his legacy. However, their project could fail to be realized unless minimal funding of $10,000 is reached. The project is being headed by the Executive Producing team of Melissa Dowd, Philip Mandel, and J. Tad Newberry.
The project goal is to record live presentations of Wiener and produce a full-length Live Presentation video/DVD, “From A Name To A Number: A Holocaust Survivor Speaks,” to accompany Wiener’s 2008 autobiography published by AuthorHouse (Bloomington, IN).
According to the website, Wiener – who is based in Hillsboro, Oregon – has made 725 live presentations since December, 2000, and received 44,000 personal letters and emails – “including 100 from individuals who decided not to commit suicide after hearing the presentation or reading the book.”
Wiener has said that the three primary reasons for putting his life story in print was he saw how his live presentations were changing the lives of school children and adults who heard him speak and he is appalled at how many people today are ignorant about the Holocaust, which isn’t taught in many school systems these days, added to the fact that there are people who actually deny the Holocaust ever happened.
Upon that backdrop, the organizers of the project aim to record and edit several live presentations by Wiener in HD video to make a “best of the best” product—a compilation of several presentations showing different audiences and a variety of Q-and-A.
According to the producers, “Viewers will be captivated by his presentations and by the questions he is asked, and how the questions vary depending on the age and life-experience of the audience (students, adults, people of various faiths, etc.)”
“His (Wiener) is an inspiring story of faith, hope, and forgiveness that is life-changing and worthy of preserving in high-quality video,” the producers add.
Once the DVD has been successfully funded on Kickstarter, the producers say they plan to continue the development of Wiener’s story into a feature film.