And the Emmy goes to…
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced on July 18 that I’m Still Here, a documentary based on the diaries of young Holocaust victims, has been nominated for two Emmy Awards. The first category is Outstanding Historical Programming (Long Form), and the second is Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Editing. The documentary, which aired in May 2005 on MTV, is based on the diaries collected by Alexandra Zapruder in Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust, published by Yale University Press in 2002. Zapruder was a co-producer of the documentary.
The New York Times called I’m Still Here “a masterly documentary and proof that there are still more and decent ways to remember the Holocaust.” Actors including Elijah Wood, Ryan Gosling, Kate Hudson, Zach Braff, Brittany Murphy, and Joaquin Phoenix read the diaries. The New York Times quoted Murphy who read the words of an anonymous girl from the ghetto in Lotz, Poland:
“Today I had a fight with my father. It happened because yesterday I weighed 20 decagrams of noodles and sneaked a spoonful.” After reporting on the argument, she says: “My father is not going to forgive me. We would be a happy family if I didn’t fight with everybody. All of the fights are started by me. I would like to be different, but I don’t have a strong enough will.”
Two days later, the anonymous girl concludes, in Ms. Murphy’s languorous lisp, “my father told me to come to his workshop and get some soup.” She continues, “After all, a father is always a father.”
Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust, which also won the 2001-02 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category, is a collection of diaries written by young people during the Holocaust and is now available in paperback. Zapruder assesses the value of these literary fragments as part of the historical record of the Holocaust and provides informative introductions about when and where each diary was written.
“When fear crawls out in the evenings from all four corners, when the winter storm raging outside tells you it is winter, and that it is difficult to live in the winter, when my soul trembles at the sight of distant fantasies, I shiver and say one word with every heartbeat, every pulse, every piece of my soul—liberation.”—from the diary of Elsa Binder, Stanislawów ghetto, 1942.
The diary breaks off mid-sentence. She surely perished, but the exact circumstances of her death are unknown.
Zapruder was the exhibition researcher and educator for the permanent and traveling versions of Remember the Children, Daniel’s Story at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I’m Still Here will also be donated to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Simon Wiesenthal Center to be screened as a part of their permanent collections.