“When we forget our history, we are bound to repeat it.” That’s a familiar adage that keeps repeating itself because it’s true.
Starting April 19, 2018, the nation of Israel is celebrating its 70th anniversary since becoming an independent state. It’s the miraculous return of Jews to their homeland after 2,000 years.
Yet despite this worldwide celebration and acknowledgement by world leaders, a new survey proves just how fickle societal memories can be despite best attempts to remember the past, especially the Holocaust, which brought many survivors to Israel following World War II. The Holocaust was a prime catalyst for Jews to once again return to their biblical homeland.
Julius Berman, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), has released a national survey of Holocaust awareness and knowledge among adults in the United States.
The survey found critical gaps of public awareness of basic facts as well as detailed knowledge of the Holocaust. Major findings of the survey include:
- Seven out of ten Americans (70 percent) say fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than they used to.
- A majority of Americans (58 percent) believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.
- Nearly one-third of all Americans (31 percent) and more than 4-in-10 millennials (41 percent) believe that substantially less than 6 million Jews were killed (two million or fewer) during the Holocaust.
- While there were over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust, almost half of Americans (45 percent) cannot name a single one – and this percentage is even higher amongst millennials.
These are some of the reasons that WND is committed to supporting the work of Jan Markell and the story of Anita Dittman, which Jan co-authored with Anita herself. Their book, “TRAPPED IN HITLER’S HELL,” is powerful reminder and remembrance, made more so because of Anita’s journey as a Jew to becoming a Christian during the rise of the Nazis and her fight to survive during the Holocaust.
For the past three years, WND Films has been working diligently to bring Anita’s story to the big screen. New efforts to this goal include: Raising film funding through a GoFundMe campaign, the completion of an award-winning screenplay, which recently received the 1st Runner Up at the Kairos Pro Award, sponsored by MovieGuide; the attachment of additional producers to this film project; and the completion of an investor package that will soon be presented to distributors, top actors, and film fund organizations.
“WND readers are invited to participate in the making of this movie,” said George Escobar, co-writer of the screenplay and Vice President of WND Films. “It’s a story that every person should embrace because it touches upon the very nature of God and His faithfulness at all times.
Recently, Jan shared her thoughts about the last 40 years she has known Anita:
“She has affected millions of people around the world, of all ages. Grade school children sit motionless as she relates her ordeal. They have no concept of war and concentration camps and deprivation and starvation. They don’t know the meaning of the word separation. Teenagers who lead a carefree life are stunned at her testimony and write her from many countries. Their world knows nothing of the dreaded knock on the door when family members are hauled off by the Gestapo.
“Those who are of the World War II generation know of depravity and love to hear her relate her ordeal. They are deeply moved and comforted if they lost a loved one in that war. Anita brought the story home to them.
“She will write to anyone and encourage them. She will let a stranger call her if they have questions or just want to talk to a Holocaust survivor, because along the way she can lift them up if they are low. She will tell these people about the miracles that kept her alive. If God can do that for me, He will do it for you, too! He is a miracle-working God she tells people.
“Every fall Anita Dittman stands behind a book table at my annual prophecy conference and signs hundreds of her books now produced by WND Books. A German lady came up to her one year and wept. She apologized for the insanity of the Third Reich. What were they thinking? Anita talks to every person and makes them feel special. At 91 she has not slowed down. She just reminds all that we serve an amazing God.
“The 40 years have raced by, but during that time millions more have learned that letting government become god as the Germans did is not a good idea. Her life verse is Romans 8:28 – that all things do work together for good for those who love God. Anita reminds every audience of that. That we really are under the shadow of His protective wings (Psalm 91:4).”