The light is switched off, and the silence in the large auditorium of the lycée Montaigne in Paris, where about a hundred students have taken place, Friday, October 19, afternoon. The face of Ida Grinspan, a survivor of Auschwitz, who died on the 24th of September, appears on a large screen deployed above the dais where sat four former deportees – Ginette Kolinka, 93 years old, Esther Senot, 90 years old, Raphaël Esrail, 93 years old, and Robert Wajcman, 88 years of age.
For an hour, the ” little Ida “, as affectionately referred to it as his comrades, reappears to tell a happy childhood in Paris (” We were not practicing our jewishness was only by the word, the yiddish “), and then the arrest, arrival at Auschwitz, the beatings, the humiliations but also the solidarity between the deportees. When she speaks of her ” liberation in a wheelbarrow “, to the laughter moved abound in the rows. “We have been witnesses of the genocide, but are you, the last generation that will hear witnesses “, pounds-t-it for the ultimate images of the video montage, to the address of the young audience.
The lights come back on, and after a few seconds of hesitation, the students stand to applaud. Those of Montaigne, but also with those of forty other schools, from Paris to Martinique, passing through La Rochelle, direct-connected to the event, with the support of the academy of Paris.
“The survivors are running out”
This is not the first time that the Union of the deportees of Auschwitz (UDA), which serves as a “relay” between the survivors of the camp and the teachers-conscious to open their classes, do so. Since January, ten sessions testimonials “dematerialised” have thus been organized, “explains Raphaël Esrail, president of the association ; each has enabled more than a thousand students to meet, at least at a distance, a” great witness “.