Consultants:Rositta KenigsbergDr. Miriam K. KassenoffDr. Michael Berenbaum
View 35 min. Film Here
The Holocaust Educational Documentary Film
Letters of Recommendation to Educators
Alberto M. Carvalho
Ms. Lizbeth Schonfeld
Dear Ms. Schonfeld:
It gives me great pleasure to provide this letter of support and endorsement of the documentary “The Absence - La Ausencia” in support of Holocaust Education in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). Feedback from our secondary teachers and instructional support staff has been very positive regarding using the film as part of their efforts in education young people about the history and tragedies surrounding the Holocaust during World War II.
Use of the documentary has been especially useful for our students whose primary language is Spanish as the film is narrated in Spanish with English subtitles. Equally useful and important is the accompanying study guide which is also available in both Spanish and English. Providing the guide, which contains a brief history of the events leading up the Holocaust along with suggested learning activities and creating writing assignments, has been well received by our teachers. Finally, the film’s length, just 35 minutes, is a perfect addition to our bank of resources regarding Holocaust Education.
Perhaps more importantly, as noted by M-DCPS’ Holocaust Education Specialist, Dr. Miriam Klein-Kasenoff, is the fact that the film assists students in developing further their appreciation for Jewish culture and history. We know that such an appreciation only leads to a decrease in antisemitism, which is the overall goal of Holocaust Education.
I thank you for your collaboration accordingly. Sincerely, Alberto M. CarvalhoSuperintendent of Schools
Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff
As the Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute, I am pleased to recommend the Documentary Film The Absence - La Ausencia - a 35-minute documentary film, which is perfect for viewing in a single class period. It would be an appropriate introduction to a unit on The Nazi Holocaust of 1933-1945, which is mandated in the state of Florida for all public schools.
The Absence - La Ausencia features 12 Holocaust Survivors from various countries in Europe narrating the factual accounts as well as provide personal testimony about The Holocaust. Their stories are supplemented with historical Archival Footage. This addition of primary source material is particularly important and provides students with accurate historical knowledge as well as a powerful emotional connection to the authentic survivor testimony. This demonstrates a best practice in Holocaust education, which for instructional purposes should balance both the historical and the emotional aspects of the events.
The film is artistically done, and the film producer. Liz Schonfeld, herself a daughter of a Holocaust survivor also offers a website with a study guide, which is an excellent resource for teachers and students as they study The Holocaust. In addition, there are musical scenes performed by youngsters that bring messages of unity and peace to mankind, a much-needed lesson for today’s complex world. The children’s singing also promotes better understanding, the need for hope, and a desire to create a better world without prejudice and discrimination. The themes of the film also support school district initiatives such as character education, culturally responsive teaching, and the importance of recognizing the dangers of intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination. Today as we see a surge in antisemitism, I believe this film will help students to understand and appreciate the Jewish culture and its history.
The Absence- La Ausencia has been distributed at many highly recognized institutions, including the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute, the Holocaust Documentation, and Education Center ( HDEC), and Miami-Dade County Public Schools teachers have reported it to be of high interest to students and use as an instructional resource. So once again, it is my pleasure to recommend the film as a major visual resource on the study of the Holocaust to Florida school districts for grades 7-12 and Adult Education. The website for the 35 min film is: https://www.holocaustdocumentaryschools.com/ which includes a synopsis of the film, historical background and a study guide for teachers.
Best Regards, Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director, University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute Author, film consultant, Child Refugee Survivor of the Holocaust
Dr. Michael Berenbaum
—Craig R. WeinerPresident, Holocaust Learning and Education Fund, Inc.
It is an honor to be able to contribute with The Absence - La Ausencia to the learnings of The Holocaust, as it reaches your students. We hope this Educational Tool meets the sensitivity and knowledge you instill in your teachings. It has been designed for the youngsters, as it may shape their views and understanding of world events and human behavior with flourishing outcomes. The Absence - La Ausencia was an awakening to comprehend what occurred, initially to my mother, father, their family, their friends, and furthermore to all the Survivors that emigrated to Latin-America, Venezuela, after The Holocaust. Their silenced pain was intriguing, and led to the search. A group of young professionals in the arts, gathered in this quest, in 1987, and embarked in making this film, pro-bono. For the first time, Survivors opened their wounds to tell the story, interviewed in their homes by 50 college students. The Yad Vashem Venezuelan Committee promoted the project. In some way, all the Community participated in the artistical scenes, including hundreds of children of different schools and ethnicities. After 8 years, in 1995, a 4 hour film, featuring 30 Survivors, portraying a message to Humankind, was premiered, with a Musical Tribute to the Survivors, by the artists of the film. Since then, the film made its way to the United States. In 2012 the United Nations distributed a 1 hour version DVD (without graphic footage) - and Study Guide, to their offices in 80 countries. At the same time, Rositta Kenigsberg, Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, and Dr. Michael Berenbaum became the guides of this film, as Consultants. Thousands of DVD’s of the short versions of the film have been given throughout a decade to teachers attending the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute - Director Miriam Klein Kassenoff, as well as in the Students Awareness Day - Holocaust Documentation and Education Center - President - Rositta Kenigsberg. Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff’s 35 minute Edition, with Revisions and Additions of Dr. Michael Berenbaum, together with the Study Guide, through the Outreach Program performed by Rositta Kenigsberg, is an Educational Resource for the Classroom. The endorsement in the Letter of Recommendation of Dr. Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Schools MDCPS, is of immense support, as he also attended the Premiere - 2016, in Miami, Florida, together with many distinguished guests in the field of Education. The honorable contribution of the Gonda Family, including Cheryl Zoller, has made the distribution of this educational tool possible. Our gratitude in the name of all the Survivors, Makers, Consultants and Contributors of this film, goes to you, the Educators. In your hands, The Absence - La Ausencia will have the opportunity to inspire your students and the new generations to be insightful, and create a positive impact for the betterment of their community, as well as to the family of nations. Truly yours, Lizbeth Schonfeld