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Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Through Skype in the Classroom, in cooperation with Microsoft, or in person, we can bring the latest in Holocaust education to you.  Contact us at info@hamec.org or 215-464-4701.

Hate never takes a vacation and neither do we.

Historian and Holocaust educator Trudy Gold says a more radical solution than the proposed memorial in Westminster is needed to tackle Antisemitism

An architect's image of the memorial and learning centre in Victoria Tower Gardens.
 The plans for the memorial and learning centre in Victoria Tower Gardens. Photograph: Adjaye Associates & Ron Arad Architects
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The question of a new Holocaust museum and learning centre is not where it should be located, but whether the money should be spent on it at all (Westminster council opposes plan to build Holocaust memorial, 11 February; Letters, 19 February).

I have been involved in Holocaust education since its inception. I was an early member of the British delegation to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (since renamed as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance). I have created teaching resources for schools, and I have taught in this country, throughout eastern Europe and latterly in China.

The problem is this: another museum, however excellent, is merely a sticking plaster on a gaping wound. There are over 300 Holocaust museums and learning centres worldwide, and many of them are exceptional. One of the main causes of the Holocaust was antisemitism. Have these museums and learning centres reduced the level? Have they stamped out Holocaust denial? Have they helped to create more just and tolerant societies?

We need a far more radical solution. Why not spend the millions bringing together our best educators and psychologists and task them with examining education in its entirety?

There are no easy solutions but there are vital questions to be asked. Why, when societies fracture, do we seek scapegoats? Is prejudice innate or acquired? Why, in western civilisation, do we continue to face rising levels of antisemitism despite the huge amount of coverage of the Holocaust? What causes us to hate difference? This would surely be a more fitting memorial.

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Trudy Gold
Former CEO of the London Jewish Cultural Centre and Jewish historian

The US Holocaust Museum asked New Yorkers for their family artifacts from WWII. Here are nine incredible donations.

BY JOSEFIN DOLSTEN, Jewish Telgraphic Agency, February 21, 2020.  Click for full report.
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NEW YORK (JTA) — A hand-drawn portrait of a young man in a French internment camp. A photo of a Jewish girl who survived the Holocaust by hiding in a monastery. A letter detailing efforts to improve life for Jews in the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp.

These are just a few of the 250 artifacts that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has collected recently through a drive launched last month — around the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz — to collect Holocaust-era artifacts from New Yorkers.

Most of the objects, including photographs, letters, documents, drawings and books, were donated by families of Holocaust survivors.

Fred Wasserman, the acquisitions curator for the museum’s New York office, described collecting the materials as “a race against time,” since the population of Holocaust survivors is aging and many have already died.

“It really is a matter of rescuing the evidence while we still can so that we can preserve this for future generations,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The Washington, D.C.-based museum decided to focus on New York because the city and surrounding area is home to a large population of Holocaust survivors and their descendants. The artifacts will join the museum’s vast collection and many will be digitized.

Here are nine standout artifacts collected through the project:

A hand-drawn portrait of a young man in an internment camp

 

(U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of David Spegal)

After the German annexation of Austria in 1938, 19-year old Annie Windschauer left Vienna and followed her boyfriend, Fred Marot, to France. Marot was interned at Camp Bourg-Lastic in the Puy de Dome region. There he met a talented inmate, Felix Kalischer, who drew his portrait, which Marot sent to his girlfriend. Marot and Windschauer, in the small photo, survived the war and both eventually moved to the United States.

A photo of three Polish young women wearing yellow stars

 

(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of Mark Grinberg)

This photo shows, from right to left, 17-year-old Ruchla Brukner with her friend Mindla Stahl and Brukner’s cousin Fajgla Blada in their hometown of Slawkow, Poland, in 1940. The three young women are wearing the yellow stars that Nazis forced Jews to wear. All three survived the war, with Brukner enduring two concentration camps together with her sister Esther.

A photo of the Judenrat in Slawkow, Poland

 

(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of Mark Grinberg)

During World War II, Germany required every Jewish community under its rule to establish a local council. The Judenrat, as it was called, had to ensure that Nazi regulations were implemented and provided basic community services. This photo shows members of the Judenrat in  Slawkow posing by a sign that reads “Hunger, cold and illness are our greatest enemies. Fight them successfully with the Jewish Winter Welfare.”

A discharge pass for a Polish Jew held in a German POW camp

 

(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of David Sass and Harvey Sass)

Pesach Sass was a Jewish soldier in the Polish army who was captured by the Germans and put in a POW camp. But Sass, who can be seen in the photo in his uniform sitting next to his younger brother Shaya, got sick and was granted a pass to return to his hometown of Skalat. He arrived there just as the town was hit by typhoid and contracted the disease. He eventually recovered and survived the war by hiding in the woods with other family members and then fleeing to Italy. 

A German refugee’s pass to settle in Rhodesia

 

(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of Ronald Glass)

The only place that agreed to take in Bernhard Rosenthal was the British colony of Rhodesia, which today is Zimbabwe. He left Germany to settle there in 1938 and his wife, Hedwig, and their two children followed soon after. In Rhodesia, Bernhard was considered an enemy alien and had to check in with authorities every two weeks.

A photo of a young Jewish girl who took shelter in a monastery

 

(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of Hal Schimel)

Morris and Maria Zimmerman decided to hide their young daughter with nuns at a monastery. The couple from Bratislava, which is now part of Slovakia, eventually was deported to Theresienstadt but survived. When they tried to reclaim Hannah after the war, the nuns initially were reluctant to return her but eventually did. The Zimmermans later moved to the U.S. with the help of a cousin in Detroit, who signed an affidavit of support for them, which is shown here in the background.

A letter from an American soldier detailing the conditions in Dachau

 

(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of Howard Reiss)

Seymour Reiss penned a 10-page letter to his wife, Ethel, detailing the horrific conditions in the Dachau concentration camp, which the Army sergeant had visited two months after its liberation in 1945.

“We then went to the kennels where they left the dogs,” wrote Reiss, seen in the small photo. “The dogs were kept hungry + trained to attack these prisoners. I saw the pole + dummy where they would hang the dummy, dressed in the striped suits that the prisoners wore. They would put a raw steak between the legs of the dummy + the dogs would leap for it + tear into it savagely. Paul (the Jewish prisoner) told us that many a stubborn prisoner was tamed by this method.”

A photo of a Jewish woman who perished in Treblinka 

 

(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Joseph Helfgott, a Polish Jew, kept this photo of his wife, Dwora, with him as he went through the Auschwitz, Mauthausen and Ebensee concentration camps. He frequently rubbed it with his thumb, which accounts for why the photo is so worn. Though Helfgott survived, his wife and their daughter Chana did not.

A letter detailing efforts to improve life for Jews in Bergen-Belsen

 

(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gift of Deena K. Bernstein)

This letter, written in Yiddish circa 1941 by Holocaust survivors in the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp, details their efforts to improve Jewish life there. They wrote that they had organized houses of worship, a special fund for brides, kosher kitchens and slaughterhouses.

The letter goes on to say that much more work is needed and implored the survivors to pitch in for the Jewish community.

It was donated by a niece of Philip Kahan, a U.S. soldier who had emigrated from Romania in the 1930s and lost most of his family in the Holocaust. It is not clear how Kahan got the letter, but he carried it in his wallet until the day he died. 

 

Wisconsin Assembly approves Holocaust Education bill

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BY News18 WQOW.COM, February 19, 2020.  Click for full report.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Teaching about the Holocaust to middle and high school students in Wisconsin would be required under a bill passed unanimously by the state Assembly.

The measure approved Tuesday now heads to the Senate.

The bill had broad support at a public hearing earlier this month from those who work to keep alive the memory of the organized mass murder of 6 million Jews and others by the Nazis under Adolf Hitler.

Eleven states currently requiring teaching Holocaust history.

Arizona House plans vote on Holocaust Education bill

Wanda Wolosky
Wanda Wolosky.

By JORGE ENCINAS, Green Valley News, February 18, 2020.  Click for full report.

Heavy support at the state Legislature for a bill requiring schools to teach students about genocide has one Green Valley Holocaust survivor hopeful that period in history won’t be forgotten.

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Wanda Wolosky was born in Warsaw, Poland, and survived the Holocaust and the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

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She has written a book and traveled to schools and military bases around the nation telling her story. Wolosky said she is proud of Arizona now that there is a bill requiring the lessons making its way through the Legislature, and she will be there Wednesday as it moves forward.

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State Rep. Alma Hernandez, D-Tucson, put HB 2682 in play. If passed and signed into law, the State Board of Education would require students to receive Holocaust and other genocide education at least twice from seventh through 12th grade.
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“We are voting on the Holocaust education bill on the floor tomorrow,” Hernandez said Tuesday evening. “It is Holocaust Remembrance Day tomorrow at the Capitol.”

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And the bill has plenty of support among legislators.

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There are 80 co-sponsors – 57 representatives and 23 senators – in addition to Hernandez, who was the primary sponsor. That’s 81 of the 90 state legislators.

Approval on the House floor Wednesday would send the bill to the Senate. Given the bipartisan support among state legislators, Hernandez said she doesn’t see any obstacles as it makes its way through the Senate.

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“I don’t know if I broke the record on co-sponsors, I definitely worked the bill really hard,” she said. “I went to every single member and asked if they could sign on because it’s something I truly care about, and I knew that most of them, even if they didn’t agree with or like me as a person, would sign on.”

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Hernandez received support from outside the Legislature as well.

Richie Taylor said the Arizona Department of Education supports the bill. Taylor is a communications director with the department.

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Taylor said districts in Arizona have local control, and if there is something the state wants to be included in the curriculum it needs to be mandated by legislators.

“Right now, it’s in the history standards as a suggestion but not a requirement,” he said. “And that’s what this legislation is hoping to change.”

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Sahuarita Unified School District exceeds the standard a new law would put forward.

Spokeswoman Amber Woods said SUSD students received Holocaust education in seventh and eighth grade as well as in high school U.S. history classes.

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She said some of the students might also have more Holocaust education with their English courses where history and literature overlap.

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For Hernandez, the bill holds special meaning beyond education.

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“I’m Jewish, and this is an important goal to the members of my community for many reasons, but most importantly because our Holocaust survivors are dying,” she said. “And I think it’s important for many of the people in our community whether they’re Jewish or not.”

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Part of that importance is telling the survivors’ stories, she said.

Hernandez said an especially emotional part of this process was having her former elementary school teacher, who is a Holocaust survivor, testify on the floor in support of her bill.

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“For me, that was huge,” she said. “Because the fact that I had someone who taught me about the Holocaust when I was a child be here in support of a bill that’s going to, hopefully, help other children.”

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Those lessons the students could learn holds particular importance for Wolosky.

“I hope that they learn something that was happening,” she said. “That they know what it was all about and if they see something again happening, that they speak up. That they don’t stay quiet and let it happen.”

 

Survivor Marius Gherovici spoke to students from Samuel Gompers School

On Thursday, February 13, survivor Marius Gherovici shared his testimony and answered thoughtful questions from students at the Samuel GompersSchool in West Philly. Thank you to our facilitator Dina Lichtman for providing Marius his transportation and for facilitating the Q&As!

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