"I hope what comes out of this is an awareness of the Holocaust," said DiIorio, said DiIorio, whose grandfather was taken by the Nazis only to never be seen or heard from again. "Even if we touch two or three of these students, that's a lot."
The Holocaust is the attempted genocide of the Jewish race by Nazi leadership during World War II that resulted in the killing of over 6 million Jews.
An important history lesson
To begin the program, BHS Language Chairman Varda Wendroff served as the program's host, and provided a PowerPoint presentation with an abundance of facts and information regarding the Holocaust and its aftermath. But perhaps what was most heartfelt was the personal anecdote she shared with the audience about this tragic event in history.
"I became involved in this film because of my personal experience, I'm part of the Holocaust Committee, and I feel strongly about children understanding what's going on," Wendroff said
According to Wendroff, her great grandmother was shot to death after the Gestapo (the official secret police of Nazi Germany) invaded her home in search of Jews.
'Song for a Child in the Wind'
The Italian versed 18-minute video, which took seven months to complete, infuses three renditions of the memorial song "Auschwitz (Song for a Child in the Wind)," written by the Italian singer, songwriter and author Francesco Guccini, a renowned political and anti-war aficionado whose views were often expressed within his work.
With graphic images of the horrors of the Holocaust (such as malnourished and thin detainees of concentration camps and children held captive behind camp gates) and accompanied by English subtitles, the film revolves around the fictional childhood life of Jacob Guidice who, along with his family, was taken from the happy life he once lived to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp. In a haunting first person Italian narrative, Jacob tells the audience of how his mother and sister where separated from him only to never be seen again, how his sick father was killed by the Nazis after he was unable to continuing working at the camp, and how Jacob soon encountered the same fate.
"I believe we (those directly affected by the Holocaust) are the last links in the chain and that's why this film is so important," said DiIorio. "They started to say already that it never happened. That was something that was masterminded in Hollywood. That's why these videos are important."
But Hollywood has produced over 170 powerful dramas since 1989 alone depicting the horrors of the Holocaust such as "Schindler's List," and "The Pianist."
A younger generation gets involved
Mark Squitieri, a sophomore at BHS whose grandfather served in World War II in the United States Army Medical Corps, wrote the film's script and also serves as the documentary's narrator.
"I reminded Mark when he was younger, we used to listen to 'Auschwitz' and to these songs because Mark's father and I are good friends," said DiIorio. "So I asked him if he remembered Auschwitz and he said yeah and started to sing it and that's when some of the ideas started coming together."
"I even remember the group that sang it," Squitieri stated.
In accordance with Holocaust Remembrance Day, the documentary will be shown at City Hall, located on 630 Avenue C, on April 15 at 2 p.m. The program is free and the public is invited to attend.
"If we learned to live in peace and everybody was happy and wonderful, then we wouldn't have to do this because people would have learned from this terrible horror," said Wendroff. "Nobody wants to look at pictures like this. But since we keep doing this to each other, we have to."