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Press release of March, 2000

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Due March 14 and Narrated By Elliott Gould, 4-CD Box Set Coincides with
Yom Hashoah (Jewish Holiday Honoring Holocaust Victims) on May 2

LOS ANGELES - On March 14, Rhino Records will release VOICES OF THE SHOAH: REMEMBRANCES OF THE HOLOCAUST, the first-ever audio documentary of the Holocaust as told by survivors and witnesses now living in North America and England. Narrated by actor Elliott Gould, this historic collection contains nearly four hours of powerful stories that testify to the horrors of the Shoah (Hebrew for Holocaust) and the immeasurable strength of the human spirit.

Five years in the making, this extraordinary four-volume 8’ x 10’ box set was developed and produced by filmmaker David Notowitz, who also produced the Emmy-nominated documentary Carpati and edited the widely acclaimed film The Last Klezmer.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of VOICES OF THE SHOAH: REMEMBRANCES OF THE HOLOCAUST will be donated to support the mission of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The box set will be available at retail outlets or through RhinoDirect at <http://www.rhino.com> and will carry a suggested retail list price of $69.98/CD and $54.98/cassette.

Additionally, the project will be available in time to commemorate Yom Hashoah on May 2. Generally known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah was proclaimed a national holiday in Israel in a resolution passed by parliament in 1951. Yom Hashoah takes place on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, chosen because it falls between the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising (which began on the first day of Passover in 1943) and Israel’s Independence day.

Compiled from British archives and current interviews conducted in the United States, VOICES OF THE SHOAH: REMEMBRANCES OF THE HOLOCAUST draws from more than 180 interviews recorded between 1988 and 1998. These poignant stories take listeners on a very dramatic journey from the survivorsí earliest childhood memories and experiences during the war through their struggle after liberation to make sense of it all. The journey is ongoing as they continue to inspire in others hope, joy, and the gift of life.

Volume one features survivorsí remembrances of life in Europe before World War II, the increase in anti-Semitism as Hitler and the Nazi party gained power, and the Jewsí experiences of exile in ghettos and deportation to death and concentration camps. Volume two includes survivorsí memories of liberation, life after the war, the adjustment to freedom, and emigration to Israel and America.
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Volume three features Jewish-American and Japanese-American soldiers who fought in World War II and witnessed the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp and a rabbi who went to Europe at the end of the war to help survivors. Volume four includes the first-hand account of a woman who spent her childhood during the war in a small Polish village, hiding her Jewish identity, and the experiences of a second-generation survivor trying to make sense of the Holocaust’s legacy.

The accompanying 100-page hard-bound book will include complete transcripts of the audio selections, historic photos provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. The book will also include explanatory essays and brief biographies and photos of those interviewed. The book will also include a timeline, maps, charts, and a glossary. In addition to the historical information, there will be an educational component that includes suggested questions and activities for parents and teachers to help explain the Holocaust and its repercussions to young people, and a comprehensive list of additional teaching resources and related web sites. Among those contributing to liner notes in the book are Notowitz, Rhino President Richard Foos, and John R. Fishel, President Of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

Listeners will hear from Siegfried Halbreich (b. 1909), Sonia Meyers (b. 1921), Cesia Kingston (b. 1926), among others. Halbreich survived six concentration camps before being liberated by American soldiers in 1945. He helped the War Crimes Commission prepare for the Nuremburg trials, and he was a major witness in the trials of Auschwitz and two other camps. Married at 19, Meyers’ new husband was killed by the Nazis. She went on to survive the ghetto and several work camps where she dug trenches for the Nazis. In the camps, she would sing and entertain her fellow prisoners. Even today, she continues to enjoy folk dancing. “All of us were hungry and cold and frozen. We were barefoot and it was snowing but luckily I didnít loose any toes. I didn’t loose my feet, and I’m still dancing.” Kingston, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp, lost two of her four siblings during the war. She and her husband eventually moved to the United States. Kingston is an active member of the survivor community in Los Angeles.

The Holocaust was perhaps the most horrific event in modern history. Generally, the Holocaust refers to period from January 30, 1933 (when Hitler became Chancellor of Germany) to May 8, 1945 (V-E Day, the end of the war in Europe). Hitler embarked on a campaign to annihilate all Jews in Europe, and approximately six million Jews were murdered under Hitlerís rule. One of the most famous inspirational events during the Holocaust was the Warsaw ghetto uprising, when hundreds of Jews organized into resistance fighters and kept the Nazis at bay for nearly a month. This was among the thousands of personal acts of resistance that took place during the war. On VOICES OF THE SHOAH, one survivor who worked in a factory tells how she and her fellow prisoners were able to sabotage handgranades.

VOICES OF THE SHOAH: REMEMBRANCES OF THE HOLOCAUST honors the memory of all Jews who perished during the Shoah and stands as an amazing historical tribute for people of all ages, races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. For additional information, advanced copies, artwork, or to inquire about interview opportunities, please contact Cathy Williams at Rhino Media Relations.
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