3 Generations is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping survivors of atrocities tell their stories to the world using film. We have recorded their voices as an act of healing and a call to action.
Instead, his superiors forbade my father and his colleagues from sharing the truths they had recorded with the public. His footage and his script for Memories of the Camps were classified by the Allied governments for 40 years and buried in the bowels of the Imperial War Museum in London until 1984. As an old man, my father told me the greatest regret of his life was not completing his film.
In 2004, as I became aware that a genocide was unfolding in Darfur, I had a growing conviction and ultimately an obsession with going there myself to see and understand what was really happening. The questions loomed, how do I get to Darfur and what can I do?
Coincidentally, Lee Bycel, a distinguished rabbi from Los Angeles, was visiting a neighbor who introduced me to him. Still ashen and shocked from his recent trip to Chad where he had spent Yom Kippur among genocide survivors from Darfur, the Rabbi was exactly the coincidence I needed. Reluctantly, he promised to take me with him the next time he went to Darfur.
Three months later, as our plane approached Nyala airport in South Darfur, I was able to see Kalma Camp from the air. It is still the largest IDP camp in Darfur and home to well over 100,000 refugees and some of the most brutal stories of dislocation, murder, rape and pillage ever told. After seeing and hearing about the genocide first hand, I wrote articles and I became an advocate. It was a long way from home and there were moments when I wondered why I hadn’t simply sent a donation to Save the Children or Oxfam. Months later I understood why.
When I returned home, I met Brian Steidle, a gifted and dedicated photojournalist who was chronicling the genocide in Darfur. As Brian’s story unfolded, I realized there were stunning parallels between Brian’s experiences and those of my father. After coming home to America with proof of genocide in Darfur, the State Department asked Brian to stop showing his pictures. Unlike my father, he was not under military command and decided he could not and would not bury the truth.
Brian and his sister, Gretchen Wallace intended to make a feature documentary about Brian’s irrefutable witness of the genocide in Darfur. Hearing this and remembering my father’s regret, I felt impassioned to help Brian tell the world about Darfur. As I started work on The Devil Came on Horseback, I knew that I would be correcting an ancestral wrong and carrying forward a family legacy.
I formed 3 Generations for the people of Darfur, for my father and those of his generation, those who were lost in the Holocaust and those who survived and were able to tell their stories.
In 3 Generations I hoped to create a safe harbor for survivors to tell their stories – brutal, tragic, atrocious, even uplifting, in their own words …words that will be honored and preserved for generations to come.
Today, we have expanded 3 Generations to include other contemporary survivors, notably victims of a sex trafficking and the men and women of our Armed Forces who have survived the wars in Iraq.
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