We Share The Same Sky
Thursday October 28 | 7 pm
Virtual at the J and at-home
“STUNNING! Rachael Cerrotti has redefined the art of bearing witness. Balancing meticulous devotion to the inherited past with luminous attention to the unfolding present, We Share the Same Sky maps an astonishing journey of tenacity and transformation. Among myriad narratives in the post-Holocaust landscape, this work is a dazzling beacon.”
— Elizabeth Rosner, author of Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma, the Labyrinth of Memory
In 2009, Rachael Cerrotti, a college student pursuing a career in photojournalism, asked her grandmother, Hana, if she could record her story. Rachael knew that her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor and the only one in her family alive at the end of the war. Rachael also knew that she survived because of the kindness of strangers. It wasn’t a secret. Hana spoke about her history publicly and regularly. But Rachael wanted to document it as only a granddaughter could. So, that’s what they did: Hana talked, and Rachael wrote.
Upon Hana’s passing in 2010, Rachael discovered an incredible archive of her life. There were preserved albums and hundreds of photographs dating back to the 1920s. There were letters waiting to be translated, journals, diaries, deportation, and immigration papers as well as creative writings from various stages of Hana’s life. Rachael digitized and organized it all, plucking it from the past and placing it into her present. Then, she began retracing her grandmother’s story, following her through Central Europe, Scandinavia, and across the United States.
She tracked down the descendants of those who helped save her grandmother’s life during the war. Rachael went in pursuit of her grandmother’s memory to explore how the retelling of family stories becomes the history itself. We Share the Same Sky weaves together the stories of these two young women—Hana as a refugee who remains one step ahead of the Nazis at every turn, and Rachael, whose insatiable curiosity to touch the past guides her into the lives of countless strangers, bringing her love and tragic loss. Throughout the course of her twenties, Hana’s history becomes a guidebook for Rachael in how to live a life empowered by grief.
RACHAEL CERROTTI was born in 1989 in Boston. She’s an award-winning photographer, writer, educator and audio producer. Her work explores the intergenerational impact of war and memory. She is currently the Inaugural Storyteller in Residence for the USC Shoah Foundation, where she produces and co-hosts The Memory Generation podcast. Rachael’s work has been published and featured by NPR, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, People Magazine, BBC, The Times of Israel among other publications throughout the world.