001~ Only nice things happen during Spring time, in Berlin
Updated: Jul 27
My name is Allon Zaslansky. I was born in Israel in 1972 and coming from a musical background, I grew up to become a pensive photographer. So naturally, this will be a pensive photo essay, and I used to call it "The 3G Ripple Effect" - since I am... sort of, the third-generation descendant from the Holocaust turmoil. However, recently, with growing voices utilizing the historic event or unwilling to compare such an extreme social disaster to whatever occurs ever since, I really like the more catchy title.
"Don't touch MY Holocaust!"
Although I started this journey/quest formally in 2008, at the age of 37, there are shards of events leading to this moment at various junctions in my life, all leading to the creation of this blog that I feel compelled to create.
I have read tons of literature, collected anecdotes, and whatnot, and I wish to pour it all out in this blog.
I will try to keep the picture clear, with unavoidable flashbacks and transitions throughout the blog, and I hope each post title (and sequence number) can help keep track.
But first a little background...
me, at the age of 5
Growing up in Israel in the 1970s and 1980s, the Holocaust education classes we had were un-planned and unorganized. To put it bluntly, they were lacking. It's not that the content was terrible or lacked substance; it was more about how it was presented to us. Dealing with such a sensitive and difficult topic must have been challenging, but the lessons we received were amateurish. There was a lack of organization, coherent ideas, or a master plan to effectively impart a real lesson to us, the third generation, about the importance of learning from the past and ensuring that such atrocities never happen again in the future (...or present...).
There were lessons in later classes, of course, but during my elementary school years and up until maybe the eighth grade, I recall sitting in class and being introduced to a kind grandparent figure who would join us and share stories, often horrifying ones, that exposed their scars and tattoos. These stories revolved around famine, death, disease, and many times the experiences of partisan or underground resistance survivors. It was not uncommon for them to burst into tears or even break down during these occasions. We, as students, would sit in silence as the teacher provided a cup of water or a tissue, asking us to understand... but understand what exactly?
It was a terrible scenario to be in, and it's only natural that I developed a healthy detachment and rejection process as a coping mechanism. However, despite my efforts, information still seeped in, and perhaps even more so.
Here's the strange thing about this collective memory that seeps in: I had no real survivor in our family. We came on Aliya in 1971 from South Africa.
My ancestors, who hailed from Radom, Poland, and Vilnius, Lithuania, had a deep understanding, individually and separately, of the direction things were heading. They made the decision to leave for South Africa in the late 1920s and early 1930s, prior to the significant events of the last century.
I never woke up to a grandparent screaming from a nightmare or encountered a post-traumatic survivor who stashed food due to their experiences. None of those experiences were part of my personal reality. I only heard stories and read about them.
Therefore, I am largely a product of the Israeli educational system's influence on shaping my understanding of the Holocaust and its aftermath.
Perhaps being a "sort of" third-generation descendant allows me to approach the subject with a closer and different perspective, which in turn makes my journey interesting. Maybe my experiences and insights can offer an intriguing and relatable journey for others who feel connected to this significant historical turmoil but lack direct personal connections. It could provide a platform for asking open questions and engaging in a healthy and constructive critical dialogue.
Going back to my childhood, there is a specific memory that stands out. When I was 15 years old, I vividly remember a scene from the first Highlander movie that deeply impacted me. It was a scene of revenge that I would replay in my mind as a 14-year-old during the annual Holocaust Memorial one-minute siren.
More posts will follow. Weekly.
I really hope you like this blog, find it interesting and enriching. I am well aware that I am treading on some highly sensitive topics and issues, and that is the reason it has taken me so long to start uploading my thoughts and materials online.
Comments, thoughts, and ideas are most welcome and highly appreciated! I believe that certain issues and ideas discussed can elicit automatic assumptions, and I hope to receive enriching and enlightening responses. However, I kindly request that we maintain a civil and respectful discussion.
Please find a nice way to share your thoughts, or at least try.
Thank you. :-)