A Personal History Restored… Never To Be Forgotten

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Dear Readers,

I apologize for the long blog absence. I kind of got caught up in the holiday season/rush and fell out of the habitual practice of writing about the memories I am privileged to capture and preserve.

I had always planned to get back into the swing of things but the longer I waited, the more difficult it was to find a topic that somehow justified breaking my unintentional silence.  Until today.

I am not often surprised when I do videotape transfers. Over the years, I have observed that we, as a people, all record the same kind of events – birthdays, vacations, sports, school concerts, etc… But every so often something comes along that just floors me. And it reminds me that people are always more than they appear and have histories that run deep and wide.

Today, I transferred to DVD a videotaped interview of one of my clients. It appears to have been recorded in the early 80s. He was born in 1934… in Berlin Germany…of Jewish parents. So as a young boy he was witness to and victim of some of the hateful, unconscionable acts that occurred in Nazi Germany.

The interviewer took him through his earliest memories and into his families’ experiences during WWII. It was horrifying but at the same time riveting. I could not imagine living through what he was describing… and yet, he had little choice but to live through it.

Memories are not always pleasant but they are always important. The past informs our present and can help to shape our future. The quote attributed to George Santayana says it best: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I am honored to have been able to have heard and preserve this slice of personal history. I would like to think that we, as a people… as a culture… will remember and learn from it so as to be spared from having to repeat it. As I look at the world today and hear the hateful rhetoric being spewed daily across the airways and internet… I’m sad to say that I’m not so sure we have.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of films, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

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When Histories Intersect

 

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Before I got into the business of digital archiving, I admit I was one of those who compartmentalized history into two groups: There was the history we learned in school – famous names, dates, important battles – and then there was your personal history – where you came from, who your ancestors were, what you ate for lunch last week…

But soon after I began working with people’s personal histories, it immediately became apparent that there is no divide. All history is personal.

Today, a client hired me to digitize a dozen audio cassettes. They all contain the interviews she had with her mother, a Hungarian immigrant. Hours upon hours of personal recollection recorded on audio tape of what her life was like. And the client put a bit of a rush on it because she is soon flying off to meet with the offspring of the people that saved her mother and entire family from the Holocaust. The audio tapes contain a first hand narrative from someone who was there. And she thought the family who saved her family might like to hear it.

Personal History and World History cross paths. And they do so more often than we recognize.

Never discount the experiences you have lived through. They may be the history tomorrow’s children study.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.