Wherever you are, our Survivors and Liberators can address your school, congregation or civic group

images.pngThrough 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.

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Film screening of renowned artist and Holocaust Survivor Harry Somers

We’re proud to partner with the Jewish Family Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia and Lise Marlowe, a teacher at Elkins Park School, to present a film screening about world-renowned artist and Holocaust Survivor Harry Somers. There will be a screening of the film, as well as children from Ms. Marlowe’s 6th-grade class last year who will read poems that they wrote about Harry Somer’s paintings. The Director of the film will be joining us for a Skype Q&A session. There will also be books for sale.


The story of the late Harry Somers is no ordinary one: He escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany as a teenager, making a new life for himself that included creating remarkable works of art and becoming a renowned impressionist artist. Now, his story — and his words of wisdom — have become the subject of an engrossing and heartfelt documentary, “Portrait of Harry,” directed by Cinematographer, Erik Angra.
This event is open to the public.

When

  • Thursday, May 31st, 2018
  • 6:30 pm – Registration and light refreshments
  • 7:00 pm – Film screening and Skype Q&A with director Erik Angra
  • Post Q&A – Local author and educator, Lise Marlowe, will also speak about her book, “Bringing Beauty Into the World,” accompanied by students of the Elkins Park School, who contributed poems inspired by Harry Somers’ paintings.

Where

  • The Barbara and Harvey Brodsky Enrichment Center of JFCS, 345 Montgomery Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

Cost

  • Registration is $18 per person or $20 at the door.

RSVP

Plans for London’s Holocaust Memorial to be published in autumn

Holocaust Memorial in WestminsterImage copyrightADJAYE ASSOCIATES
The Holocaust Memorial is set to be built in Westminster’s Victoria Tower Gardens
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Controversial £50m plans to build a Holocaust memorial and learning centre in a London park will be published this autumn, the BBC has learned.

Critics of the project, to be built in Victoria Tower Gardens, say people who rely on the green space will lose out.

Royal Parks charity chair Loyd Grossman said there may be better locations, but he would wait to see the final plans before taking a formal view.

Ex-shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the UK would be proud of the memorial.

The scheme is expected to be completed by 2021.

Sir Eric Pickles and Mr Balls – the co-chairs of the cross party memorial advisory committee – insists that Victoria Tower Gardens – the royal park next to the Houses of Parliament – is the right location for the memorial.

Pickles and Balls
Sir Eric Pickles and Ed Balls support the location of the new Holocaust memorial and learning centre
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Ex-Labour shadow cabinet member Mr Balls, who co-chairs the advisory committee, told the BBC: “I think there is an overwhelming desire in our society to have a proper memorial.

“What better place than close to Parliament? They have important memorials in Washington and in Berlin but we should have one in London.”

Sir Eric, the Conservative co-chair and former communities and local government secretary, said: “All over Europe, new memorials are going up – in Romania, in Ukraine and we are seeing a brand new one in Austria.

“I think it’s right. This is likely to be one of the most frequently visited Holocaust memorials anywhere in the world.”

An estimated two million people use Victoria Tower Gardens every year.

The six-acre park already hosts a number of memorials including a statue of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and the Buxton Memorial to the abolition of slavery.

David AdyajeImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Sir David Adjaye was born in Tanzania and grew up living in Egypt, Yemen and Lebanon, before moving to Britain
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Last October, architects Sir David Adjaye and Ron Arad won the competition to design the memorial and subterranean learning centre.

Speaking to the BBC, Loyd Grossman questioned the planned site of the memorial.

“There are many alternative locations which may very well be better in terms of protecting the natural environment; in terms of crowd management; in terms of security and indeed even in terms of existing expertise,” he said.

However, he made it clear that the Royal Parks charity could not take any view of the current proposals until they were formally submitted to Westminster Council this autumn.

“We can neither object to it nor support it because we don’t know what it is and we won’t know what it is until a planning application is submitted,” he said.

“However what’s pretty obvious is the point of our charity. Our mission is to preserve historic open spaces for the public benefit. The public realm is under attack everywhere and we are protecting the public realm.”

Emmeline PankhurstImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Victoria Tower Gardens has a statue of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and a memorial to the abolition of slavery
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Barbara Weiss, a local architect who refurbished the Wiener Library – a Holocaust archive in London, is campaigning against the proposed location of Victoria Tower Gardens.

“There is something about the scale of this enterprise,” she said.

“The park is a real oasis and it doesn’t deserve to be taken over by something which is very bling and bombastic.”

Victoria Tower GardensImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Victoria Tower Gardens is London’s smallest royal park
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Ms Weiss also said the proposed excavation work posed a significant threat to the root system of the large plane trees in the park.

“We have commissioned experts who say the trees will be dead within 10 years.”

Other organisations including the London Parks and Gardens Trust also oppose the decision to site the memorial in the park.

The Imperial War Museum, less than a mile from Victoria Tower Gardens, also believes the proposals for the learning centre could detract from its own plans to open a new digitally enabled learning and events suite to complement its current Holocaust exhibition.

It has been the national museum for the Holocaust since 2000.  But Mr Balls believed the planning process would deal with any concerns raised.

“We’ve chosen a design which means that the park is maintained as a public green space within which there is a beautiful memorial,” he said.

“I think though that Britain will be not only very proud of this memorial but also very proud that we as a democracy have chosen to put a memorial to the greatest tragedy of the 20th Century next to our Parliament”

The memorial and learning centre design can be viewed here.

May’s online short: Chika, the Dog in the Ghetto

Filmmaker Sandra Schießl recreates experiences of the Jewish ghettos through imaginative animation and design.

From San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, May 18, 2018.  Click for full report.

Click for video.

In May’s Online Short, filmmaker Sandra Schießl recreates experiences of the Jewish ghettos through imaginative animation and design. Chika the dog and the five-year old Mikasch live in a Jewish ghetto in an unnamed Polish city. The little dog helps Mikasch to develop as a child despite the persecution of the Jews by the Germans.

Dir. Sandra Schießl, Germany, 2017, 15 min, Animation

Read a Q&A with director Sandra Schießl below:

JFI: What inspired you to make this film?

Schießl: That inspiration was Batsheva Dagan and her lifelong commitment to the next generation’s historical education.

JFI: What was your greatest challenge during the filmmaking process

Schießl: To find a design concept, that is historical, sincere and entertaining at the same time.

JFI: Any thoughts you’d like to share about screening this film in a Jewish context?

Director Sandra Schießl

Schießl: I hope very much, that this film can be used also in Jewish schools to start talking about what happened and how tolerance has to lead our way into the future.

JFI: What film/media has inspired you lately?

Schießl: Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson.

JFI: What do you do when you’re not filmmaking?

Schießl: Spending time with my two sons, gardening, playing the fiddle.

JFI: Lastly, gefilte fish: delicious, or disgusting?

Schießl: Never tried it, sorry. What is it filled with? But I love fish, so as long as it is not left in the ground to rot or something similar, I probably like it.

Each month, the Jewish Film Institute presents a new free short film to watch online from emerging voices in Jewish documentary, narrative and experimental filmmaking, accompanied by an interview with the film’s director. To watch more JFI Online Shorts, visit the archive of free films here.

These young sibs resisted Hitler and paid with their heads. Literally.

Holocaust education to be included in Connecticut school curriculum on July 1

By Peter Yankowski, Ridgefield Press, May 21, 2018.  Click for full report.

When Ridgefield High School students return to class in the fall, they’ll have new assignments on the Holocaust and other genocides in history.

That’s the result of a state bill — signed into law Thursday, May 10 — that requires local school boards to include “Holocaust and genocide education and awareness as part of the social studies curriculum for the school district,” beginning July 1, 2018.

The bill, which was introduced by state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), comes after several swastikas and other racist graffiti were discovered throughout Ridgefield over the last two years.

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Connecticut State Capitol

Boucher (R-26), who represents Ridgefield, called supporting the bill “one of the proudest efforts” she has been a part of in the state’s General Assembly.

“When Rabbi Philip Lazowski came up to the Senate to tell me the good news, he was so full of emotion. We wrapped our arms around one another with tears in our eyes thinking about those victims of the most horrific chapter in human history. In my heart, I would like to think that all those victims of the Holocaust are looking down with hope for the many generations to come who will learn about these atrocities and will stand against the persecution of all people,” Boucher said.

‘No-brainer’

First Selectman Rudy Marconi called the bill a “common-sense, no-brainer” measure, and said he was pleased it was passed.

“I think plenty has been said about the Holocaust. and the need for all of us to remember that the genocide that took place was a scar on humanity, and one that we can never forget,” he said Monday, May 14.

“I would look at this as an opportunity for teachers to be sure to include the Holocaust in their teachings about World War II. … Some days you wonder based on the news whether we did learn anything. And that’s why education is so important — that the mistakes of our world are so important to learn from, and if we don’t teach, then there’s no learning.”

Survey

The bill, officially titled “An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Holocaust and Genocide Education and Awareness in the Social Studies Curriculum,” comes after a recent survey that found that younger Americans, in particular millennials, lack a basic understanding of the Nazis’ systematic murder of millions of Jews, Romani, and other ethnic groups.

Lawmakers were reportedly also alarmed by statistics suggesting two-thirds of millennials do not know what Auschwitz was, based on a survey conducted by New York-based Schoen Consulting earlier this year.

Local school boards may use existing private or public materials and personnel to create the new curriculum, the bill states.

It also allows boards to accept gifts and donations toward genocide education.

The signing came three days after the House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of passing the bill. It was previously approved by the Senate on April 24.

Swastikas

Since November 2016, Ridgefield police have investigated eight instances of swastika graffiti and other forms of hate speech.

The anti-Semitic imagery has been found in Ballard Park, etched into tables and doors at Ridgefield High School, and drawn in marker on the doors and entrance signs of the Aldrich Museum and Masonic Lodge — both on Main Street.

Boucher said she hopes the legislation is a model for other states to follow.

“Rabbi Lazowski and I now hope this great achievement in Connecticut can serve as a model for other states and spread throughout our country,” she said. “I truly believe that education is the key to ending anti-Semitism and racism.”

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