During World War II Morris Gliklich and his family fled the southeastern Polish town of Nisko, where he was born, to escape the Nazi invasion. Eventually the family was captured by the Russians and sent to a Siberian labor camp where they coped with brutal winters and malaria, and narrowly survived.
The former Metuchen-Edison-area resident, who has already published his memoirs on his experiences, will have his story further memorialized on film.
Golda Och Academy junior Naomi Sessler, an Edison resident, participated in Names, Not Numbers, an inter-generational program that preserves the stories of Holocaust survivors through the production of a documentary. Sessler interviewed Gliklich for the film, which will be screened at Congregation Neve Shalom in Metuchen on Monday, March 2. A question-and-answer session with both Sessler and Gliklich will follow the screening, which is sponsored by Metuchen-Edison and Colonia Hadassah.
“This is a chance to educate so many more people about the Holocaust,” said Sessler.
When Sessler interviewed Gliklich she didn’t realize she had something in common with the survivor. Her family are all active members of Neve Shalom, including her father, Marc, with the men’s club, and Sessler herself is the synagogue’s United Synagogue Youth (USY) president. She later learned that Gliklich had once been a member of Neve Shalom, as well.
Sessler said that students working with the Names, Not Numbers projects receive training in filmmaking (“I never knew there were so many ways to use a camera to better the production,” she said) and interviewing subjects who have undergone difficult experiences. “We are taught how to interview people who become emotional and assure they are comfortable.”
Gliklich, 85, who presently lives in West Orange, realizes the importance of programs such as Names, Not Numbers.
“The whole point is we have to tell our stories to this generation,” he said. “I’ve spoken at several yeshivas and high schools both in New Jersey and Florida. I have found that not only Jewish students are interested, but non-Jewish students as well.”
His book, “The Memoirs of Morris Gliklich: Holocaust Years and Beyond,” was published in 2019 by Outskirts Press.
“Originally, I wrote my memoirs so my grandchildren and great-grandchildren would have them, not to be published,” he said, “but they were, and that will bring many more my message.”
This is the third year the West Orange day school participated in Names, Not Numbers. Over the past 15 years, more than 200 projects have been completed through the program, documenting stories of more than 1,800 survivors and World War II veterans by over 6,000 students in the U.S., Canada, and Israel.
The films have been accepted into the archives of the Jewish National and University Library of Israel in Jerusalem and are being archived at Yad Vashem and the Mendel Gottesman Library at Yeshiva University.
If you go
What: Screening of “Names, Not Numbers,” a Holocaust documentary made by Golda Och Academy students and presentation by student
Naomi Sessler and survivor Morris Gliklich
When: Monday, March 2, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Congregation Neve Shalom, Metuchen
Cost: Free; for information, call 732-548-2238