Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mayer Franck (1928-2012)

Mayer Franck, an Auschwitz survivor who lived in Finland since 1947, is dead. He was a living memory, a regular visitor at schools to discuss the Holocaust as a first person witness. He was our guest at Cinema Orion in our Forum Holocaust event in 2008 and commented on Wanda Jakubowska's The Last Stage (Ostatni etap, PL 1948), which he then saw for the first time.

This year, he appeared in Pia Andell's movie Matkustaja (Passenger, FI 2012) as himself, an old man who meets a 11 year old girl on a tram ride and tells her his life story: he was 11, too, when the persecution started.

After Mayer's visit at Cinema Orion I kept meeting him at the Academic Bookstore and at a bench by the entrance to the delicatessen department of the Stockmann department store. His very presence changed the circumstances wherever he was. He had seen hell and returned to bear witness. He put perspective on things. The memory of his dignity continues to do so.

No comments: