Dr George Halasz, "Following Mother's Footsteps: Physician, Heal Thyself"
Dr. Halasz's Talk
Representing survivors, child survivors, second and third generations over 100 people gathered at the Holocaust Centre to hear Dr. Halasz's talk. There were two levels operating, that of the physician on his professional journey via the conference in Cracow as wells the deeply personal journey of the second generation member tracing his mother's footsteps, leading him to her call block, in Auschwitz/Birkenau. Using an analogy of a ballet dancer pirouetting and the eye of the hurricane he drew the audience along with him.
We viewed a video of his presentation at the conference, using a split screen effect to show his mother's testimony on one side, and simultaneously on the other side, his reactions to viewing the testimony were screened. The effect was extremely powerful. George talked extensively about what he called "Reparative moments" the putting together of some small fragments of disconnected pieces which may be healing. For the next generation, the second and the third, it is possible for such reparations to occur and these "Moments of Repair" are available to us all.
It covers many such moments, it may lie in seeking one's roots, tracing a family members' journey or in living commemoration of lost ones and in the dialogue between the generations. The healing may be on a personal level or on a communal level ...as was this evening.
This healing process was carried over into the function that took place on the following Sunday evening, a session with the participants of the recent March of the Living. The reaction to the students talking about their experiences in Auschwitz/Birkenau and Treblinka visibly moved the large audience. Once again it comprised a cross section of survivors, child survivors, second and third generations.