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Sundial: This South Florida storyteller documents the last Holocaust survivors

Leslie Gelrubin Benitah is a storyteller based in Miami who documents the stories of the some of the last living Holocaust survivors through videos.
Courtesy of Leslie Gelrubin Benitah
Leslie Gelrubin Benitah is a storyteller based in Miami who documents the experiences of the some of the last living Holocaust survivors through videos.

The past is very much the present for Leslie Gelrubin Benitah.

She lives with it every day as she catalogs the stories of the last living Holocaust survivors.

Gelrubin Benitah was born and raised in Paris. She grew up hearing stories of the Holocaust first-hand from her grandparents. They were born in Poland and lived well into their 90s. Long enough to tell the stories of what they saw, what they lived through, and what we can learn from their experience.

Gelrubin Benitah realized there were fewer people living who could tell these stories themselves. Many of them are in South Florida. Time was running out.

She decided to record these last survivors before it was too late. She created an online project called “The Last Ones.” It’s a series of interviews with some of the last living Holocaust survivors.

Gelrubin Benitah goes around the world recording video interviews with survivors. She shares these stories with younger generations — in classrooms, on YouTube, even on TikTok.

The work is not easy. The stories are tough to hear. But they’re especially poignant today, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On the April 17 episode of Sundial, Gelrubin Benitah tells us how the project has become a valuable teaching tool to connect the past to the present.

On Sundial’s previous episode, producer Tori Linder told us about her National Geographic film Path of the Panther, which follows the Florida panther and the people on the front lines trying to save the state's biggest cat.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us by emailing us at sundial@wlrnnews.org.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.