JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bonnie Hardy has a story to tell — as part of dying generation. It’s a story of survival of her Jewish family, her history and the impact it’s had on her life.
The story centers on her grandparents, who were killed in Auschwitz, a concentration camp, and her mother who escaped to London, England, where she lived, married and gave birth to Hardy.
Friday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Hardy’s story, as told by author Stacey Goldring, will appear in a documentary film called “Traces, Voices of the Second Generation” premiering Saturday in Jacksonville.
“It’s so important because my grandparents died. Were murdered,” Hardy said in an interview. “You can’t wrap your head around it. You just really can’t understand the magnitude, the evilness. You can’t.”
Hardy says there is another reason to get this message out now.
“I think living in Jacksonville, Florida, with all the antisemitic actions that have been occurring in just the last six months,” Hardy said. “And all the murders that have occurred, like in synagogues, or in grocery stores, wherever it may, we are actually very frightened now. So this, this cannot be forgotten. We must let future generations know.”
Hardy, like many family members of survivors, says the pain of what happened to her loved ones is something that they too carry on in life today. She told us about her mother — of what she knows. But she never really talked to her mother about how she escaped and the loss of her mother’s immediate family, but she knew her mother was troubled.
“No. 1 Impact was the depression,” she said. “You know, the amazing, phenomenal depression. You lost your parents and your siblings. They were murdered. You were ousted from your home. You literally went with the clothes on your back.”
And the impact it had on Hardy’s life is also something she wants future generations to know. That’s why she says the film is important.
I asked Hardy, if given the chance, what she would want to tell her mother today.
“Oh, gosh. That’s really — I tell her every day how much I love her, how much I miss her, how much I’m so grateful for what she gave to me having gone through what she had gone through. I mean, she really was a loving, loving person. And she, it was very difficult for her,” Hardy said.
Hardy hadn’t yet seen the film and plans to attend with friends. She hopes that its impact will be felt by many.
You can experience the story for yourself at the Wilson Center for the Arts at the FSCJ campus on the Southside. The event is free, but it’s suggested that you make a reservation. Follow this link to RSVP for the show.