Help me search for Maya - The baby who was forgotten in the holocaust - for donations press here.
"What I know about Maya is that she was born on 22 February 1941 in Vilna, to Moshe Kopito and Rachel Sarenka Zilberberg."
In January 1942, Sarenka decided to hand Maya into care so that she could rejoin her peers in the Warsaw Ghetto. Sarenka placed Maya with a female communist doctor in an orphanage in Vilna, under the name Yodviga Sogak. Since then no trace of her has been found. Please share this video, together we can find Maya".
Ofer Aloni, named for his aunt Sarenka (Ofra), a Warsaw Ghetto Uprising rebel. At the age of 22, she left her infant daughter Maya, who has yet to be found, and charged with inconceivable courage, entered the besieged ghetto to join forces with others rebelling against the Nazis. With them, she fought for the sake of that existential human need, Hope...
It lay like a stone unturned for 69 years, a historical treasure of personal-social value: the path to Hope, preserved in a warn, tin box, red as the world's flush of shame, from the WWII period, and found in Tel Aviv in February 2012. What did the treasure consist of? Chilling letters and photographs linked to hope, the foundation of our existence – "for a person without hope is likened to the dead".
The person who found this treasure is an artistic creator who has been consciously dealing with HOPE for over a decade. He is named for his aunt, who wrote the letters and whose image is captured on a rare and unique photograph together with Mordechai Anilewicz, Commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
The letters and photo brought to light how the group was actually focused around the young woman, Sarenka, the real spirit behind the Uprising, who handed over to the care of others her baby daughter Maya, still not heard of to date. She did this of her own volition, to enter the besieged ghetto and join up with her peers, inspiring the rebellion against the Nazis and encouraging those around her to stand together, to fight with hope and for hope, for that existential need basic to us all.
What is HOPE? How did the Warsaw rebels, and Sarenka in particular, find hope in that lowest of all possible life circumstances, in the greatest war humanity had ever known?
One of the most familiar symbols of the Holocaust heritage: the memorial sculpture by Nathan Rappaport in Warsaw, carved into the very stone that Adolf Hitler planned to use for his own victory commemorative.
In front: Mordechai Anilewicz. Behind him, a woman looking at the infant she holds. Is this none other than Sarenka, my aunt after whom I am named? Was she the sculptor's inspiration?
Quotes on Sarenka from various books
"We will not go as sheep to the slaughter. We have decided that when our end comes, we will not die without defending ourselves. And if we will have no weapons, we will spit in their faces. At least we will show them the derision we hold for them: and that is how we will fall. But at least our actions will not go unremembered. The Warsaw Ghetto Rebel."
One day we were called to our brigade meeting with the new young woman delegate from the Vilna Ghetto. I think her name was Sarenka (or perhaps Rachel?) We all sat on the floor and before us stood a young woman, about 22 years old, whose hair already showed white streaks. In the twilight she looked so pretty and noble, but her eyes seemed extinguished.
"It was a night of horrors. We – the members of Hashomer Hatzair [The Young Gurad] hid in one apartment. We listened to the voices coming from the street. The Germans' vehicles stopped and then we heard voices, shouts, shots, heart rending crying. This is how they evacuated one street after another. To where? To the forests near the city, Ponar, no doubt the valley of slaughter.
"Thousands of Jews had already been taken there. We have witnesses who fled from the pit itself and described how they stood men, women and children in rows along the mouth of the pit, then shot them. We live in constant fear. I came to tell you to be wary of them. We have secure information on liquidation of the ghettos throughout east Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania.
A letter from my aunt Sarenka to my mother: "... I named her Maya. Do you like it?..."
Sarenka's letter to her sister announcing the birth of her daughter. In order to return to the ghetto, Sarenka hands over her beloved daughter Maya.
Vilna, 6 March 1941
Our daughter was born on 20 February, that is, a month after you left. What a shame you can't see her. She’s beautiful, and so sweet that I could just die. Exactly today she’s two weeks old. She’s so big already, right?
Her name is Maya. Do you like her name?
Why do we need hope?
For as long as a person is alive, there is hope; but when that person dies, so does that person’s hope – Talmud Hope is the fundamental human drive that motivates from deficiency to wholeness without the ability to touch perfection. Despair becomes manifest through inactivity and immobility, while hope is like the supra-campaign* of life, driving us forward.
*Supra-campaigns are aimed at creating personal, social, marketing and political mobility. Their life span is short – some two weeks. When we use them cleverly by embedding hope in the campaign, where hope is the root and essence of mobility, we gain greater movement which draws a longer lasting effect from campaign content.
Why do we need a product that arouses hope?
“I haven’t come to offer something new, but to remind you of things forgotten” – this well-known saying is taken from the book “Paths of the Virtue” which accompanies me over the breadth and length of years.
Our outlook is based on the principle of “I haven’t come to offer anything new but to remind you of what you forgot”. This same principle was employed by Peter Drucker, founder of the American scientific marketing world, who claimed that the smallest and largest inventions in the world had no target audience.
Another tool that may arouse hope is external movement which influences internal movement. When a person is caught in a traffic jam, for example, often her or his mind and heart will also be obstructed. When you use one of our hope arousing products ( link ) their external reality may reignite your internal hope. For a person without hope is as considered dead … but you are alive!
There is also the advantage of the dialogue that may develop with your friends and acquaintances, impressed by the product and your identification with the subject.
Our product reminds you of the need to remain hopeful. It’s content is supported by the book, the path to Hope aimed at these target populations.
Why are the donations earmarked for seeking Maya, the rebel’s daughter?
We don’t ask for your contribution without offering something in return. Maya is the symbol of sacrifice in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising for the sake of the “supra-societal ideal”, much like the Binding of Isaac. The Uprising is the foundation of hope in our current world.
As a one year old infant, Maya was handed over for adoption after her father, Moshe Kopito, was murdered by the Nazis and her mother, Sarenka, chose to return to the ghetto and connect with an almost inconceivable social ideal, because such connections come from the biggest hearts possible, rather than from narrow self-focused interests.
What happens to your donation?
Your contribution is your purchase. But it will help us look throughout the world for Maya, daughter of the rebels. Our search will help highlight the fact that many children disappeared during the Holocaust, yet we still have hope of finding them and bringing them back to their families.
We hope this search may “awaken” the children themselves, while simultaneously giving hope to families who lost their children during that most terrible period of human history, World War Two.
This is why we are calling on you to give at the spiritual level for the sake of hope, and at the material level to help us find Maya, with the assistance of a director and film team. The film itself may awaken the world, not only to helping us find Maya, but to the distress of lost Holocaust children….
…. and reminding us of the atrocities we hope will never recur.
Why are we running out of time?
The Uprising was 70 years ago. Maya would be 71 now….