Facebook Embed Plug Script

How Buzz Aldrin reacted to documentary on Ilan Ramon and his earth-orbiting torah which miraculously survived both Holocaust and Columbia disaster, 13-years ago

Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon's shoah Torah survived destruction
In the spirit of Holocaust Remembrance Day last week and the 13th anniversary of the event, PBS re-webcast, "Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope" (formerly titled "An Article of Hope").  It is the untold story of Colonel Ilan Ramon, a fighter pilot and son of Holocaust survivors who became the first and only astronaut from Israel, embarking on a mission with the most diverse shuttle crew ever to explore space. 
Space Shuttle Columbia crew
(Ilan Ramon rightmost in red)

Ramon realized the significance of “being the first” and his journey of self-discovery turned into a mission to tell the world a powerful story about the resilience of the human spirit. Although the seven astronauts of the Columbia perished on February 1, 2003, a remarkable story of hope, friendship across cultures, and an enduring faith emerged. 

The film premiered in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the disaster and NASA’s annual Day of Remembrance. 

“Moving tributes like this film remind us all that spaceflight always carries great risk,” NASA Administrator and four-time space shuttle astronaut Charles Bolden said. “But fallen heroes like Ilan were willing to risk the ultimate sacrifice to make important science discoveries and push the envelope of human achievement.”

Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope goes behind the scenes to explore the “mission within the mission” for Ramon, who carried into space a miniature Torah scroll that had survived the horrors of the Holocaust, given to a boy in a secret bar mitzvah observed in the pre-dawn hours in the notorious Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen. The bar mitzvah boy grew up to become Israel’s lead scientist for the mission, Joachim “Yoya” Joseph. 
Photo credit:FrumLife

The film follows the scroll’s path into Ramon’s hands, and the dramatic moment when he tells its story live to the world from the flight deck of Columbia. From the depths of hell to the heights of space, his simple gesture would serve to honor the hope of a nation and to fulfill a promise made to generations past and future.

Moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin pays homage to Israel Air Force astronaut Ilan Ramon chronicle of Holocaust survivors' ascent into the heavens

L.A. Museum of the Holocaust memorializes Fascist Italy's 8,000 Jewish victims of the Shoah

"Life is Beautiful" (1997) depicted the Italian Jewish Holocaust experience
Fascist Italy was one of the last countries to serve-up her Jewish citizens to the Nazi camps. The 1997 film "Life is Beautiful," starring Roberto Benigni dramatized the Italian internment. Benigni's own father had survived 3-years of internment at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Italy's Consul General to L.A., the Honorable Antonio Verde, explains the reading of names of the Italian Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust at the L.A. Museum of the Holocaust.

Hearing the names of some of the 8,000 Jewish family members
 served-up from Italy sobered the LAMOTH audience.
Samara Hutman, Executive Director of L.A. Museum of the Holocaust explains the genesis and growth of the Italian Holocaust awareness project. 
Mrs. Anne Signett reads the names of Italian victims of Nazism. She expresses concern that the lessons of the Holocaust manifest as vigilance by current generations. 

Mrs. Amelie Dembitzer Levin, who survived the Holocaust by being hidden by Catholics in Italy.