Volunteer Voices with Stacey Berebitsky

My name is Stacey Berebitsky and I became a volunteer at the Maltz Museum the summer of 2016. I was invited to go with friends to see Operation Finale: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann. I have always been interested in stories and books that relate to the Holocaust ever since I was in high school and a survivor spoke at my school. His story of survival always stuck with me and I wanted to hear and learn more.

The summer of 2016 I had recently retired from my accounting career and was looking for something I could do with my spare time. After seeing the exhibit I asked museum staff about volunteer opportunities. I started volunteering in the gift shop and then the front desk. Then Courtney Krieger, Manager of Education and Outreach suggested I become a docent. I decided to give it a try and went through the training but was too nervous at first to give a tour.

Then Dimensions in Testimony’s Interactive Biography of Stanley Bernath made its way to the Museum. This is a program that Stanley, a local Holocaust survivor, took part in conducted by the Los Angeles based Shoah Foundation to record his likeness through interviews and 3-D hologram technology. The Maltz Museum hosted this on a screen where you can ask him questions and he answers them. Stanley was in LA and was filmed for two 10-hour days with thousands of lights and cameras on him asking over 900 questions.

I loved being a docent for this interactive biography because every group was different in the fact that the audience was able to make their own inquiries. I found it very interesting to hear the different types of questions that were asked by the children versus the adults. Stanley was not able to answer every question but when he wasn’t programmed for an answer, he would say I do not know. Eventually, there will be no Holocaust survivors left to tell their stories and I believe you feel more connected when you are listening to an actual survivor speak in their own words.

Thanks to technology, this is the next best way for survivors to actively retell their story in an interactive setting. I am looking forward to having this brought back to the museum so I can share this experience with more adults and children.

To become a volunteer docent, please contact Aaron Bane at wbane@mmjh.org