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2 NJ middle schools participating in "Names, Not Numbers"

South Jersey students participating in project to interview Holocaust survivors
South Jersey students participating in project to interview Holocaust survivors 02:05

VOORHEES, N.J. (CBS) -- Middle school students at two South Jersey Jewish day schools are participating in a months-long project to interview Holocaust survivors. 

The project, which involves seventh and eighth graders at Kellman Brown Academy and Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, is part of "Names, Not Numbers," a national oral history film project and class curriculum that tasks students with interviewing Holocaust survivors in taped interviews.

The taped interviews are then sent to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.

On Wednesday, students at the two academies interviewed South Jersey resident Inge Bass, who immigrated in February 1938 from Germany to America.

"If you could speak to your parents today, what will you tell them?" one student asked.

Bass replied,  "I'd tell them how lucky I am that my father had the foresight to bring me to America"

Mira Berman was one of the student interviewers, and she enjoyed spending time with Bass.

"I was really eager to hear her story after all of the research I did about her, and I was a little nervous," Berman said. "She's a very important person, and I didn't want to ask the wrong things."

 One of the messages Bass imparted to students is that history could repeat itself given the recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents.

"Things have gotten to the point where I almost sometimes think I'm back in 1936," Bass said. "I'm not saying that it is, but I feel very threatened."

But by not staying silent, Berman hopes Bass' story will inspire her generation to continue to fight for justice.

"Most students around the world don't get a chance like this," Berman said. "So, for us students to learn about their stories face-to-face, and then share their stories really combats anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial."

The students' interviews will be compiled into a documentary that will screen at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill sometime in March 2023.

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