Alexandra Zapruder earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College and her Masters at Harvard. As a founding staff member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, she has, for over twenty years, contributed to our knowledge of the Holocaust. In particular, she is the author and editor of Salvaged Pages: Young Writer’s Diaries of the Holocaust, published in 2002 and recipient of the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category. She has also penned pieces for Lithub, The Smithsonian Magazine and The New York Times.
She also, of course, has one of the most recognizable last names in American history, especially for the generation that grew up in the 1960s and 70s. Her most recent book, Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film, is a fascinating account of how her grandfather’s famous home movie capturing the assassination of President Kennedy intertwined the life of her family with the life of the nation. In dealing with diaries from children’s’ past or being a descendant of someone that documented this country’s most famous political assassinations, one can’t help but draw a connection between her two books—a fascination with fragments from the past, her effort to make sense of the objects left behind, and how that shapes our understanding of history.
Whether it is pages from children’s diaries written during the darkest period in Jewish history or the meaning of an 8 millimeter home movie shot in 1963, Alexandra Zapruder has used her skills to reclaim objects and help us see them in new ways, illuminating the importance of what it means to bear witness, regardless of the medium.
Check her out in the 22nd Annual Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Conference for Educators with the Museum of Jewish Heritage here
You can find her on Twitter at EZapruder
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