Hi Reddit! My name is Janine Webber, 86.

I survived the Holocaust thanks to a stranger called Edek who hid me in a hole dug beneath a barn on a farm for a year. After the war, I never saw him again.

I've now made a music video with Kapoo (https://www.edek.film/), a hip hop artist, to tell my story to young people. Ask me anything!

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/6iBJtIC

EDIT (Sunday): Thank you everyone for your questions! My message again is stand up to persecution. Don't let innocent people be badly treated. Thank you again and goodbye :-)

EDIT 2 (Sunday): Unfortunately most of reddit's servers have been down for the majority of the AMA, so we will try to have Janine answer more of your questions tomorrow Monday. But please keep them coming.

EDIT 3 (Monday): I've come back tonight to try and answer as many questions as I can. My friend Malcolm, who directed the video, is typing on my behalf.

EDIT 4 (Monday): Thanks again for all your amazing and thought-provoking questions, it's been such an overwhelming experience and I enjoyed every minute of it. Goodbye for now :-)

EDIT 5 (Wednesday): Due to the overwhelming response we've had, Marc and Malcolm, the makers of the film Edek will be answering some of your questions and giving their point of view on the project and their experience with Janine. Thanks again to everyone involved in the AMA!

Comments: 2077 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

Hungry_Sans2911 karma

What is one thing they don’t tell people about the holocaust in school?

EdekProject4730 karma

I don’t know if they always tell people about the numbers. In Poland, 3m Jewish people were killed, perished in gas or died of hunger. The Jewish population just disappeared. They minimise, they don’t attach importance. If I think of m family, most of my family perished. That should be emphasised.

undercoverape1840 karma

What did you do to keep yourself entertained while hiding?

EdekProject3172 karma

That’s an interesting question. When I was hiding in this hole, somebody brought a book with them. There was one book written by a very well known Polish writer. By then, my reading wasn’t very good. But I kept reading it. They allowed me to read it. That’s how I entertained myself, being in that hole.

Godjakewin1721 karma

What was the food you were most excited to eat once biding was over?

EdekProject4132 karma

The war was still going and I found shelter with a priest who didn’t know I was Jewish, he was just a kind man. He gave me scrambled eggs. I loved and I still love scrambled eggs! If ever anyone wants to invite me for lunch, scrambled eggs please!

SpaceBoggled1534 karma

Did you ever try to find Edek again after the war? Or find out anything about him?

EdekProject3808 karma

I did try to find Edek. But not immediately. At the time it was so painful, I couldn’t speak. I approached the BBC to ask them to try and help me. They took six months and couldn’t find any one. My great friend now, Marc Cave, he is helping me find details about where he came from, the name of his brother. He would be in his late 90s now. He was 19 in 1943. I doubt he is still alive, and if he is, he is very old. I am still trying – I owe him my life.

SoH--CaH--ToA1333 karma

You said he was a stranger. How did you meet Edek?

EdekProject3535 karma

Edek, I had his name and address. When I was in the ghetto, my uncle or aunt gave me his address and said if I ever needed help, he would help me. When I was with a Polish family, at first they didn’t know I was Jewish then they found out I was and they didn’t want me. I took a train and I found him. He was in his office. I told him who I was. He got up and told me, walk behind me at a distance. He was frightening of being seen with me. That was when I first met him. I didn’t know then that he was hiding 13 Jews.

von_Kartoffel1011 karma

Do you still have negative feelings towards germans?

EdekProject3144 karma

Not towards young Germans, no! If I met a German man, he’d have to be very old, over 95… I’m not a violent person, I don’t know how I’d react. I don’t know if I’d want to ask him why he did it or just walk away and not speak to him. The difference between Nazis and Germans, obviously there was a big difference. Not all Germans were Nazis. In fact, some Germans tried to kill the Nazis. Some Germans did help the Jews. Unfortunately a lot of Germans turned a blind eye too. They stood by. Everyone knew what was happening and not everyone did something to help.


What is something that gives you hope for the future ?

EdekProject1703 karma

I hope the world will improve because I have sons and grandsons and I want them to live in a world with justice, where they are treated like human beings.

avacadosaurus774 karma

I'm a descendent of a holocaust survivor, it's been two years since she passed away. what is your wish for the rest of us who live in your shadow?

EdekProject1112 karma

Well, the Holocaust, of course, what happened I cannot forget. But I try to go out and speak to schools, universities, churches, and I try to speak what happened. But oher than that I try to live a normal life. I was happily married. I have two wonderful sons. My wish for my sons is that they stand up to prejudice. I don’t want them to feel they have to feel sorry for me because I’m an ordinary person. They’re very good to me and I want them to have a very good normal life, full of peace.

GavinStaleyAMA758 karma

Do you think Edek would be proud to have his story shared?

EdekProject1457 karma

A lovely question. He’d be very happy. He was a lovely man. I wanted him to be celebrated as someone heroic, who saved fourteen Jews. He would have been happy, I’m sure. He deserved to be happy, he was a good man.

PennyHammer748 karma

Ms Webber, thank you so much for talking with us today. Do you remember experiencing antisemitism when you were growing up, before the war broke out and Lvov was occupied?

Also, as a young-ish Jew I am scared for the day that all of the Holocaust survivors are gone and people start to forget the atrocities that happened. What do you want people today to know about the Holocaust that they might not learn elsewhere?

Thank you again for your time and for sharing your story with us.

EdekProject1645 karma

That’s an interesting question. What will happen when the survivors all die out? I know we are all worried. Because the number of survivors are dwindling. There are less and less of us. And maybe in 10 years time there won’t be any. There’s a project called the Forever Project made in the National Holocaust Centre and Museum. They made a programme that was very expensive that we’re hoping to get more funds for – we spent one week answering 1500 questions so that what will happen, when I am dead, my experience can be sent to a school, I’ll be sitting in an armchair after my death and because of technology, young people from schools can ask me a question and with the help of this technology, they will get an answer to their question. I think it’s absolutely wonderful. It will be like you can talk to survivors who are dead. I think it’s very good.

lyssargh696 karma

What or who helped you deal with life after you fled Poland? How did you move forward?

EdekProject1767 karma

When I left Poland, I went to France. In those days, we never, the adults, I was still a child, they never asked any questions. They hoped as children, we would forget. I could not forget. I went to school. I tried to concentrate on becoming a normal person. I very quickly learned French. Through my life, when I was 24 I came to England. I tried to look normal. When I had my children, that was an incredible experience. And that helped me not to think about the past. I wanted to think about the future, for them to have normal lives, to stop talking about the war.

Number_8_burrrp480 karma

How did you feel about the people who caused you harm? What nationality were they? Did you feel they were just following commands?

EdekProject1429 karma

That’s a good question. I feel that it was their choice. For instance, the Nazis, Gestapo, it was a choice they made. Whether they were brainwashed or whatever. You can resist. They made a choice. The Poles, the family who killed my brother, I know they killed my brother. They made a choice. How do I feel? I feel angry. How can you kill a child? He had no idea about being Jewish or not Jewish. I still feel angry. But I don’t feel angry towards young people in Germany. They’re not responsible. Young people I don’t resent at all.

SaintNattygrumpo435 karma

Despite everything that's happened to you, do you still think people are good?

EdekProject915 karma

I still believe that there are a lot of people who wouldn’t persecute the innocent. Who would stand up. There are organisations that fight for people who are persecuted. One is Doctors Without Borders – I think they are wonderful, I’ve seen them at work myself. There are organisations and people. There are people who want to help.

Sansabarnaby94395 karma

Is there an aspect of the war that you feel hasn't been documented sufficiently in either in film or writing?

EdekProject1085 karma

I wasn’t in the camps but of course as a child I went through various experiences being in the ghetto, hiding, losing most of my family, seeing my mother dying. I think maybe the children are a little neglected. Because the emphasis is on people who survived the camps. Somehow they feel that we, because we were so young, that we’d forget or that it didn’t have an impact on us. It’s impossible to forget what happens, that your parents have perished, that your brother was killed. I think this is something that should be spoken more of.

vxx228 karma

Hey, you should know that you inspired me to raise awareness in /r/unexpected today.

Thanks so much!

Well, I don't really have a question, so... did you expect that to happen?

EdekProject221 karma

What a wonderful comment, thank you so much for saying that to me! I will tell you that quite often, people write to me and tell me that my talk has inspired them. I’m just speaking about my experiences. I’m so glad to hear it is inspiring. Thank you very much for your contribution.

kamikazeboy514209 karma

Was there any type of warning or news from other areas that people were being taken to camps?

Do you worry that something like this is currently happening or could happen again?

EdekProject535 karma

I heard people saying when the Germans came that they were taking people and sending them to camps. I didn’t know what type of camps they were but I knew no one wanted to be caught and sent to the camps. I didn’t know people were being gassed. Unfortunately, I am frightened, because there is still persecution of innocent people and anti-semitism in many countries. This worries me. It worries me when I hear about innocent people being killed. There are genocides in many countries.

Fayyar186 karma

Why did you leave Poland after the war?

EdekProject497 karma

I felt Poland because there was widespread anti-semitism. I was in a home for children who survived with false papers. The Poles who knew we were Jewish were throwing stones at the house. It was dangerous, dangerous for the children.

smel_reddit162 karma

What was the hardest thing you had to go through?

EdekProject613 karma

During the war, to see my mother dying. To know that my father was shot. My grandmother killed. Especially, to know that my brother was killed. I found it unbearable. Most recently, it’s the death of my husband. That was very hard.

BelladonnaBunny147 karma

You're a badass!

What's one thing you gained from each experience and do you think your younger self would be impressed and pleased?

EdekProject353 karma

I am smiling! Thank you, I don’t know exactly what badass means but I’m not offended.

bkdr22103 karma

Do you have a favorite hip-hop artist?

EdekProject243 karma

Kapoo! He is the rapper I made the Edek film with. He’s my favourite at the moment. If I listen to the radio, I listen but I need educating! I don’t know enough about that music.

jazztoots71 karma

Do you feel that fascism is threatening to replace the world’s democracies?

EdekProject170 karma

It’s a very important question. I am very worried. I know there is a growth of very extreme right wing parties. In France, I know because I lived there, there is Marine Le Pen. They are racist. Racism is the same as anti-semitism. Britain, we are one of few democracies and we are in danger of being overtaken by right wing parties who are often racist.

stebbifreakout6 karma

Will you feature Snoop Dogg in your next video?

EdekProject29 karma

Yes of course! Why not. I would like to learn more about that music. I like learning and it’s enriching! The young people like it and I want to know more about it.

Avachiel0 karma

How do you feel about the modern rise of Nazism?

EdekProject28 karma

There is an increase. Everywhere in Europe, unfortunately – this has been studied, there are figures. It frightens me. We should fight it, we shouldn’t accept it. People shouldn’t be persecuted over small differences, different religions, different clothes, different colour of skin. We should fight racism and anti-semitism. People want to find a scapegoat.