My previous post on this subject is here
There are two major strands to this story: my cousin Larry and my interest in Tel Aviv. Twenty-six years ago, Larry made a documentary film called "Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die." It had started as a research project into what America did to save Jews from the Holocaust, but it turned out to be about what America, and in particular American Jews, didn't do.
Larry's timing was such that a few people who did try to accomplish something were still alive, and Larry interviewed them. Most notable was a man named Peter Bergson, whose real name was Hillel Kook. Bergson managed to get FDR to set up the War Refugee Board, but was thwarted in his attempts to convince FDR to do more. He passed away seven years ago, and his daughters organized a memorial conference this past Monday at the Tel Aviv Cinemateque, to pressure Yad Vashem to honor their father's work on behalf of Holocaust victims. Larry alerted me to the conference, which included his filmed interview with their father.
Because I am interested in Tel Aviv, having lived here for almost twenty years, I recently took a walking tour of my neighborhood, led by a historian who knows a lot and kept me enthralled for three hours as we walked through three periods of Tel Aviv history: the founding period starting in 1908, the Bauhaus period starting in the early 1930's, and the urban renewal starting in the 1970's. I surfed the Internet for more information and came upon a promising-sounding book at Amazon by Maoz Azaryahu, a geography professor at Haifa University. I figured the Bauhas Center on Dizengoff St. would have the book, and Monday morning I went over there to buy it; not only did they have it but they knew the author.
I then went over to the Cinemateque to the conference. Dr. Rebecca Kook, Hillel's daughter, made the opening remarks. She introduced the agenda and then thanked the people who helped her organize the conference: among the names mentioned was Maoz Azaryahu. For all I know, he was there and could have autographed my copy of his book during a break, but i didn't have enough chutzpah to track him down.