On July 21, 2019, my father, Mordechai (Max) Dunetz passed on from this world, and I intuitively felt that my time had come to assume what needed to be assumed. It was not immediately clear what that meant, but within a few months I knew that it would mean that from now on it would be my responsibility to carry on the story, to transmit the legacy. A legacy which is at the same time overpowering in its tragedy and, in my mind and soul, burning in its demand to be told and passed on. I am referring to my father's family, who lived for hundreds of years in the small town ("shtetl" in Yiddish), of Zhetl, Belarus and the vicinity, and who were nearly all viciously massacred in cold blood during the Holocaust by the Nazis and their collaborators.
My father survived these- and other- treacherous events by means of the power of fate, miracle, good fortunate and/or random chance, to each his/her own way of seeing such things. While my father and his older sister Fanya survived 3 years of terror and fear, their parents, younger brother, older sister, grandmother and most of his uncles, aunts, cousins, relatives and friends perished in one of the greatest acts of genocide, if not the greatest, in the history of mankind. My father, Mordechai, managed to survive and escape from the forced labor camp of Novogrudok, and to fight and stay alive as a Partisane in the forest until the area was liberated by the Russian army in July of 1944.
My dear, departed father lived on to the age of 96, and re-built his life from the ashes of his childhood village and family, to a life fully dedicated to family, Jewish education and journalism, Yiddish language and culture, Zionism and to perpetuating the memory and legacy of his family, town, tradition and life which were all exterminated by the powers of unfathomable inhuman evil.
Passing on the Story
In 2020, less than one month into the Covid-19 pandemic, I chose to tell my father's story online by Zoom, in Hebrew, to people in Israel.
This year, after having had a year to deeply reflect on what it means to "tell" such a story, I would like to broaden this scope and have decided to prepare a special event in English to people around the world, a few days before Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. Towards this event, I have been working with a video editor to prepare a video clip of 15 minutes on rare footage that I have never before shown in public. It is a very personal, moving, 15 minutes of a verbal legacy my father left us that was taken from precious moments in which my father, mother, my two brothers and myself visited the mass grave in Zhetl in August 2000, on the 58th anniversary of the second massacre in Zhetl, of August 6, 1942. These words which were uttered from the depths of deeply-seated grief frozen in the passage of time, came forth within a loving, family embrace, to create a profound, "Sacred Legacy", that I wish to share and pass on…
April 5, 2021, at 7:00 PM (19:00) Israel, 12:00 EST, 9:00 AM PST- on Zoom.
No charge, registration (RSVP) is requested to facilitate administrative matters to run the event.
Due to the personal nature of the event recordings will not be distributed, nor there be a "chat" feature.
Please register, enter "Holocaust Memorial Event" in the subject, in e mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 812 1482 2625
Thank-you for your participation, cooperation and understanding.