Students in Messina keep asking about the others? where is everybody?
Here is a photo of the meeting with Andra and Tatiana Bucci in Messina. This meeting took place on January 12 in a local Comprehensive school. Only seven students of the group were present. Giulia is the girl between Tatiana and Andra Bucci.
Right behind Andra there is Serena, very difficult tont oo see and next to her Sarah. Alberto is next to her but behind Emilio. Giovanni is in front of him and next to him there is Gabry.
Tuesday morning was a very beautiful sunny day in Messina when eight hundred students from different schools of the city centre met at Palacultura Antonello da Messina the two youngest Italian survivors of the holocaust. Andra and Tatiana were in Birkenau 11 with a lot of children. They were together with their cousin Sergio and the other nineteen children who answered Mengele’s question „step forward if you want to see your mother“. The highest authorities greeted Andra and Tatiana and among the speakers there was Professor Lazzaro who was invited to speak as the author of a book on the Bullenhuser Damm Children. Tatiana Bucci thanked her for what she does in keeping the memory alive of the twenty children.
We learnt what was life like in the camp and we listened with tears when they told about their arrest and the awful trip to Auschwitz. It is painful to remember but they do it for young people so they can learn history from those who lived it. It was sad to see them been taken away by a RAI journalist because no students got the chance to ask questions. We feel lucky knowing that Prof Lazzaro gives us the opportunity to meet relatives of the children. Giovanni, Alberto, Leo, Emilio, Andrea, Serena, Sara, Giulia, Trisha, Gabriele.
This afternoon seven of us got the opportunity to meet Andra and Tatiana Bucci.The arrived in Messina yesterday evening and it was very interesting to learn history not from a book but by two little girls who lived the horror of the concentration camp.The meeting was in another school with teachers, students and parents. Our parents were there with us and tomorrow we are going to listen to them again. Giovanni, Alberto, Emilio, Gabriele, Serena, Giulia and Sara.
Today the first class was a special one for the those of us known as the Hamburg group. Serena, Giulia,Trisha, Sarah, Leo, Giovanni, Emilio, Alberto,Andrea and Gabry Another group of classmates sat to listen and take notes. It was moving to hear Tatiana and her mum. We all got the chance to ask one or more questions. We wanted to give them both a big hug and although we know it is very painful to talk about the tragic story the Perlow family went through we really hope to give Andra a big hug. Emilio dared to ask Andra to have dinner with us on January 12 when she comes to Messina but she said she doesn’t know what schedule she and her sister have got. We want to meet Sergio’s cousins becuse they were in Birkenau 11 with all the other children who Mengele chose for the Neuengamme expiriments. On Wednesday,Giovanni, Emilio and Andrea went to the Public Library and read three poems from our teacher’s book. We spoke about Marek James, Eduard Hornemann and W.Junglieb. We said how big is our bond with the twenty children. It would be nice to be in the Palacultura with students from other schools. Messina will never have such an opportunity.
Students from Messina have had the opportunity of meeting Mark James through skype twice in 2013. They have met Mario de Simone last March when he came to school as a guest. On December 19th they will be talking with Tatiana Pezzoni. When she went with Sergio’s mother to Hamburg she was 19. Her mum was in Birkenau 11 with her sister and they both survived because they didn’t step forward.
On November 26th the students involved in the youth exchange project held a ceremony at school. It was in a classroom because the twenty children were deprived of learning while staying in the ghetto, in Birkenau and in Neuengamme, Students set the table. On a linen cross-stitched tablecloth especially made by Professor Lazzaro for the occasion students prepared for twenty with colourful designer paper plates, napkins and cups. Each set included a child’s name bookmark, an exclusive embroidered butterfly, representing their short life, a crochet white rose, representing their innocence and a little painted heart representing our hug to each child. Once the table was set students ate bread and meat sitting at the table because in concentration camps the children could never have a real meal, On a desk students put a Menorah, an old desk calendar with the day and month the children were killed just behind a bottle of wine called 1945 to mark the year the tragedy occurred. There was also a kirigami butterfly especially made for the conference given in Uppsala by Professor Lazzaro in 2013, The ceremony marked the day the children were chosen by Mengele and since in Messina we wanted to remember Sergio’s birthday which occurs on the 29th, one of the stiudents‘ mother prepared a cake with the anniversary design.Another mother presented to the Professor twenty cross stitched butterflies. The ceremony was also attended by special guests, Chiara Leo and Maestro Piero Blanca who played the violin and the piano. They played the theme La vita è bella and Schindler’s List. The students presented also their suitcases to honor the children and also their interpretation of some poems.
The Bullenhuser Damm Group in Messina is working hard. Next week they will interview on skype the writer Lia Levi who will share her story as a hidden jewish italian little girl who was hidden and not deported. Some students are making suitcases with recycled materiial for the remembrance ceremony which will take place at school to honor the memory of the children on the day which marks the 70th anniversary of their stepping forward. Someone is making twenty crochet roses, white of course.
Students involved in the project decided that their presentation will be written in pasta paper. During the war pasta used to be wrapped in a yellowish strong paper so we were able to get some of it. A specialty store near the school has donated it.