Monday, January 31, 2011

A Pair of Storytellers

Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff

A family friend was on the cover of the Baltimore Jewish Times last week, along with a fine tribute to her work as a storyteller. She goes into schools and communities teaching people how to tell their own stories and teaching how not to be indifferent. In this age of instant, this is important work.

I was anxious to read the article and immediately clicked on the link, only to be taken to a page explaining that if I did not register with said newspaper, I could not read the article. Okay, thinks me, no problem. I entered my name, the email address I use for this kinda stuff, and my zip code. They asked an age range, and I even answered that, although I wondered why they cared. Then, they asked for my household income.

Excuse me? My what? There was no opt out option, no choice for it’s none of yer damn business. I tried skipping the question and their net-nanny would not let me pass. I erased all the information and exited the page.

I immediately posted a comment advising Jennifer that I would’ve loved to have read the story, and here’s why I didn’t.  Later I checked to see if anyone else had had the same issue. There were a string of “mazel tov” comments, and everyone but me seemed to have accessed the story just fine. But in order to do that, they had to provide a total stranger with a piece of highly personal information. Why on earth would someone do that? Is nothing sacred? 

Had I been in the vicinity of Baltimore, I would’ve picked up the Baltimore Jewish Times at my local newsstand where no one would’ve asked my age or my income. Instead, I now have the article in PDF format, so if you want to read it, let me know and I'll send it along with all of Jennifer's corrections. 

And while we're on the subject of story-tellers, we lost a exceptional witness to history this week when our very dear friend, Henry Oertelt (z"l), passed away on the 66th anniversary of his liberation from Auschwitz.

Henry Oertelt (z"l)
Henry was witness to it all, beginning with Kristallnacht in Berlin right through the DP camps at the end of the war, yet he survived with a firm belief in life, living and bearing witness to the horrors of genocide. He spent his life speaking at schools, churches, and civic organizations, warning them against the complicity of silence. 

Henry survived five  concentration camps, including Aushwitz. He would show you his number if you asked; he thought it was important you should see a real one, not a replica or a movie make-up one. His number, B-11291, was more than evidence he had been there; it was proof he had survived to tell the story.

 His book, Unbroken Chain, is a testament to his tenacity. You should read it.

Wifely person Tip O' The Week
Take a moment to listen to Henry tell his own story as only Henry could:   


  1. Thank you for sharing about Henry. We are honored to be developing a film on his life story and would love for you and your readers to follow our progress.

  2. Please keep me posted on your progress. Henry was a dear, sweet man and I will miss him very much...especially his laugh.

  3. Thank you, m'dear ...