Wolf Blitzer hosts the new Holocaust documentary “Voices of Aushwitz” tonight at 9pmET on CNN. Just last year, Blitzer discovered that his paternal grandparents died at Auschwitz. The powerful documentary airs on the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation and features survivors telling first-hand stories of the horrors they endured.
TVNewser caught up with Blitzer to discuss the film and his connection to “Soul Train.” He even plead the fifth to one of our questions.
TVNewser: Your paternal grandparents died in Auschwitz, what do you hope survivors and their children and grandchildren take away from the documentary?
Blitzer: On this 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I hope everyone steps back and remembers what happened during World War II. Survivors and their children, of course, will never forget. More than one million Jews were murdered at Auschwitz alone; it’s hard to believe that human beings can be so cruel and vicious to fellow human beings. The lessons of Auschwitz for all of us are as important today as ever. What is so especially horrible for survivors and their children is the fact that there are some very sick people out there who now even deny there was a Holocaust. I’m very proud that CNN has produced this special documentary which includes the very emotional and personal testimony of survivors. They tell us what happened.
TVNewser: The film features some amazing survivor stories. Which one left you with the most profound impact?
Blitzer: I spent a lot of time with Eva Kor at Auschwitz last summer. She is a truly impressive woman. She was only ten years old when she and her family were brought by cattle car to Auschwitz. The only reason she survived was because a Nazi guard noticed that she and her sister were twins. Dr. Josef Mengele was doing horrible experiments on twins at Auschwitz and the girls were useful to him. After getting off the cattle car, she and her sister never saw their parents or other family members who were immediately taken to the gas chambers. Eva and her sister survived even though they endured horrific torture.
TVNewser: You sat down with Steven Spielberg for the film. What has been his impact on modern Jewish society?
Blitzer: Spielberg has been amazing. While interviewing him for our documentary the personal experiences and words he shared were very powerful. His recollection of walking through what remains of the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz was so moving. It clearly changed his life. Through his USC Shoah Foundation, he has captured on video the detailed testimony of many thousands of Holocaust survivors. Those testimonies will be with us forever. All of us should be grateful to him.
TVNewser: OK, let’s lighten the mood. What’s the situation with Wolf Blitzer and Soul Train? You’ve participated in the Soul Train Music Awards show for the last several years.
Blitzer: I grew up in Buffalo watching “Soul Train” with Don Cornelius. I loved it then – the music, the dancing, the whole nine yards — and still love it. A few years ago, I was having dinner with my pal Paxton Baker of BET who mentioned he was going to Atlanta to produce the Soul Train Awards. I mentioned that I love “Soul Train,” and on the spot he asked me if I would be willing to make a presentation. I immediately said yes. And before too long, Doug E. Fresh was teaching me how to Dougie.
Blitzer: When I was a guest recently on “Watch What Happens Live” on Bravo, Andy Cohen told me I could plead the Fifth to one question. I plead the Fifth. I like all the delis but try to limit my intake. As you know, the camera adds five pounds.