'The Remembering Project'

Shaker Heights High School student Abby Kagan, from left, interviews Holocaust survivor Roni Berenson along with Natalie Bauman, founder and CEO of The Digital Mosaic, as part of “The Remembering Project” documentary.

Four Holocaust survivors will share their personal experiences of the Holocaust during a screening of the documentary “The Remembering Project” at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at Montefiore in Beachwood.

Natalie Bauman, CEO and founder of The Digital Mosaic, a digital storytelling app, produced the 30-minute documentary. The film was funded by a grant from the Saltzman Youth Panel of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.

Bauman said working on the film was “ very emotional.”

“I would sit there and listen to the stories and I would get really choked up,” she said. “I’m inspired by their strength and by the lives that they’ve led since then, but I feel a lot of pain hearing their stories and thinking about what they went through.“

The four survivors included in the film are Alex Zelczer of University Heights, Roni Berenson of Chester Township, Michael Pupa of Beachwood and Montefiore resident Irene Weiner. During the documentary, each of the survivors shares his or her personal experience of the Holocaust, from fleeing Berlin before the outbreak of the war to surviving by hiding in the woods in Ukraine.

Bauman said many Holocaust survivors have just recently started talking about their experiences.

“One of the survivors [in the film] is a father of one of my friends and he only started talking about it a few years ago,” she said. “His story was one that he kept close to his own heart because it was just too hard to talk about.”

Four local teenagers also helped with the documentary. Jordan Chessin, a freshman at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Abby Kagan, a sophomore at Shaker Heights High School, Guenevere Logan, a junior at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, and Sam Royer, a senior at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, applied to be a part of the film. The teenagers met the survivors along with Bauman and had the opportunity to ask their own questions.

“The teens surprised me with their questions. The survivors even mentioned that the students did such a fantastic job and really added a different perspective and insight and made the quality of what we got even better,” Bauman said.

Following the screening, Bauman, the survivors and the students will answer questions from the audience. Bauman said that she hopes people who view the documentary will understand the importance of continuing to spread awareness of the Holocaust.

“I hope people walk away from it feeling like they have a task at hand to send this message forward into the future,” she said. “They will be witnesses, along with the filmmaking crew, the teens and the videographers we worked with, to capture this rare moment in time.

“It was a hard project but the people who were a part of it, we feel very conscious of being witnesses to the last survivors. The survivors know they’re part of the last people in their generation to experience this, and we feel it’s important that we’re able to play a role to ensure future generations get to hear their story.”

WHAT: Screening and discussion of “The Remembering Project”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Jan. 13

WHERE: Montefiore’s Maltz Auditorium, One David N. Myers Parkway, Beachwood

INFO: Contact Melissa Adell at 216-910-2652 or madell@montefiorecare.org.

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