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New Cd and Cassette Feature Oral Histories of the Holocaust

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“Do you have nightmares?” When schoolchildren ask Siegfried Halbreich this question, he answers that he never does — “because I live with it, day and night.”

The testimony of the 90-year old Los Angeles resident, who survived five years in six concentration camps, is among those of 180 men and women interviewed in the United States, Canada and England and heard in a unique, four-hour oral history, “Voices of the Shoah: Remembrance of the Holocaust.”

The poignant stories of the survivors, from their early childhood to old age, have been collected in a four-volume box set narrated by actor Elliott Gould that will be available in both CD and audio cassette.

Rhino Records, which describes the set as the first-ever audio documentary of the Holocaust, is scheduled to release them March 14. All proceeds are to be donated to the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which participated in the project.

The audio collection, the culmination of a five-year project, is complemented by a 100-page hardbound book, with complete transcripts of the spoken testimonies, historic photos, explanatory essays, a timeline of events, maps, charts and a glossary.

In addition, there are suggested questions and activities for parents and teachers and a list of additional teaching resources and Web sites.

The Rhino production has no connection to Steven Spielberg’s widely publicized Shoah Foundation, which has videotaped the stories of some 50,000 survivors.

Volume I features survivors’ remembrances of life in Europe before World War II, the rise in anti-Semitism as Hitler gained power and the Jewish experience in ghettos and concentration camps. Volume 2 includes survivors’ memories of liberation, life after the war, adjustment to freedom, and emigration to Israel or the West.

Volume III deals with Jewish American and Japanese American soldiers who witnessed the horrors of the concentration camps and a rabbi who went to Europe to help survivors. Volume IV includes the personal account of a woman who survived in a small Polish village by hiding her Jewish identity, and the attitudes of a second-generation survivor in dealing with the legacy of the Holocaust.

The complete box set will be available at record stores and other retail outlets at a suggested retail list price of $69.98/CD and $54.98/cassette, or directly at www.rhino.com.

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