David Rakoff tells the story of the day that used to hold the record as the worst disaster in New York history: June 15th, 1904, when the steamship The General Slocum, caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, killing 1,031 passengers. Almost everyone aboard was from one neighborhood in New York, and by all accounts, that neighborhood was never the same again.
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In 1946, a man named David Boder started to investigate the Holocaust before it was known as the Holocaust. He dragged a primitive recording device around Europe and gathered the first recorded testimonials of concentration camp survivors.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.
In our search for events that might illuminate what we've seen in New York this week, we hear interviews with survivors of a terrorist attack that happened in a crowded city, during rush hour, just six years ago. On March 20, 1995, the Aum cult dropped plastic bags of poison gas on the Tokyo subway.
Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters—Elise and Mathilde—at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from her book The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain their lives and their deaths to a friend, in a series of letters.