Conversation with Holocaust Survivor, Betty Eppel. Interviewed by Naomi Parness.
"The Resilience We Have Learned from our Survivor Parents"
Facilitated by Dr. Charles Silow
Virtual Tour of Birkenau
Presented by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
See the Arbeit Macht Frei gate, walk towards the main exhibition halls, listen to explanations on the extermination process, see belongings of murdered Jews, and walk through the building of the gas chamber and crematorium.
Meet the Kindertransport Association
Melissa Hacker, Carole Borgh, Margaret Kittel Canale, Anita Grosz, Susan Stayna & Shoshanah Wolfson
In the months before World War II, nearly 10,000 children were sent, without their parents, from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Danzig and Poland to safety in England. Unaccompanied children in much smaller numbers were sent to Sweden, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The Kindertransport Association connects Kindertransport Survivors, their children and grandchildren, preserves and shares Kindertransport Survivor histories, and supports children in need and child refugees. Join us for a gathering hosted by Second Generation Kindertransport Survivors KTA President Melissa Hacker, Vice Presidents Anita Grosz and Shoshannah Wolfson, and Toronto based KTA members Margaret Kittel Canale, Susan Stayna and Carole Borgh. All are welcome, Kinder, the next generations and interested friends, longtime KTA members and folks meeting us for the first time!
Melissa Hacker is the first member of the Second Generation to serve as President of the Kindertransport Association, and is the daughter of a Kindertransport Survivor from Vienna. Melissa is a filmmaker who made her directing debut with the documentary My Knees Were Jumping; Remembering The Kindertransports, which was short-listed for Academy Award nomination, seen in film festivals, cinemas, museums, on television, community centers and universities worldwide. Melissa is also a wandering professor of documentary film most recently at Yangon Film School in Myanmar. Melissa consulted on the 2018 exhibit, Rescuing Children on the Brink of War at the Center for Jewish History in New York, and has written for the catalog and provided material for a Kindertransport exhibit opening in December 2021 at the Jewish Museum Vienna. Melissa serves on the Executive Committee and the Governing Board of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants.
Anita Grosz and Shoshannah Wolfson are Vice Presidents of the Kindertransport Association.
Carole Borgh's mother is Renate (Herzog) Cahn, who left Krefeld, Germany on a Kindertransport in 1939 (age 15). Carole's father is Guenther Cahn, who left Düsseldorf, Germany on a Kindertransport in 1939 (age 14).
Margaret Kittel Canale's mother is Vera (Posener) Kittel, who left Germany on a Kindertransport on July 25, 1939.
Susan Stayna's father is Karl Stayna, who left Vienna on a Kindertransport (the first out of Austria) on December 10, 1938 (age 12).
After the Last Survivor: Yiddishkayt Initiative Holocaust Programs and the Czestochowa Legacy
Avi Hoffman & Lea Wolinetz
Czestochowa, Poland is considered one of the most important European centers of Jewish faith and culture in the long history of the Jewish people. From the early 19th century, Jews played an important role in the development of industry and commerce in Czestochowa, and a number of Jewish social, educational and charitable institutions were established. Lea Sigiel-Wolinetz is the Executive Director of the World Society of Czestochowa Jews and their Descendants. Over the years, Lea has been asked, repeatedly, why she has given so much of herself to the city of Czestochowa, Poland. Her mother Pola Horowicz Sigel left Czestochowa so many years ago, with such terrible memories, but there were good memories, as well, and stories that had to be told about Jewish life in the city that was the home to . Her task is to recount the stories of her forefathers, as a bequest, for the sake of Jewish children and grandchildren. As the world loses more Holocaust survivors, it becomes the next generation’s mission to pass this legacy on and to celebrate the rich and deep history of the Jewish people.
Avi Hoffman is the CEO and founder of the Yiddishkayt Initiative and actor specializing in Jewish culture and Yiddish theater. His long-running “Too Jewish” trilogy has been seen by millions on PBS and in venues around the world. He has produced and presented shows throughout North America, Europe and Israel. International Festivals include Romania, Poland, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Tel-Aviv and other European cities and countries. His connections in the theater, entertainment and film communities are extensive. He has received a Congressional Award and was named a “Sage” by The New York Times. Both he and his mother were recently inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame.
Lea Wolinetz was born to Holocaust Survivors from Poland. She started her professional career as a Public School teacher and administrator in the New York City Public School system. Coming from her education background, she’d go on to help create Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation. To honor the millions of children lost during World War 2, in 1994 she created The Golden Bridge of Friendship. The non-profit was designed to match orphans from Eastern Europe with adoptive parents. The model she developed is now used across the globe. Mrs. Wolinetz has served as Coordinator for the Jews of Czestochowa Exhibit and Outreach Manager for the Polin Museum in Warsaw. She currently acts as the Executive Director of the Worldwide Czestochowa Jews and their Descendants, and the Secretary of Czenstochowa Relief Society.
Spiritual Resistance: Searching for Humanity in an Inhumane World
The creation of schools, keeping diaries, and maintaining religious customs, are just some of the many ways that Jewish people "fought" against their oppressors during the Holocaust. In this session we will journey into Yad Vashem's Holocaust History Museum and explore how Jews engaged in acts of spiritual resistance as a part of their struggle to maintain their dignity and humanity in a world of chaos and dehumanization.
This program will tour the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center. Established in 1953 by an act of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, is entrusted with the task of commemorating, documenting, researching and educating about the Holocaust: remembering the six million Jews murdered by the German Nazis and their collaborators, the destroyed Jewish communities, and the ghetto and resistance fighters; and honoring the Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem encompasses 45 acres on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem and is comprised of various museums, research and education centers, monuments and memorials. Among these are the Museum Complex, the Hall of Remembrance, the Valley of the Communities and the Children’s Memorial. Each year, approximately one million people visit Yad Vashem, and millions more visit its website, which is now available in eight languages.
Lori Gerson is an educational coordinator for Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center. After graduating from Barnard College in New York, Lori worked for many years in the field of education in the United States. In 2005, Lori made aliyah with her family and then joined the Yad Vashem team as a guide for educational groups. Since 2016, Lori has taken on the role of Educational Coordinator in Yad Vashem’s International Training and Education Department where she lectures, coordinates seminars, develops curriculum and guides educators in best practices.
Women in the Holocaust: Why Their Stories Matter Today
Dr. Karen Mock, Dr. Renate Krakauer & Dr. Racelle Weiman
What we can learn from the lives and actions of women of the Holocaust to address the issues of today with the kind of courage that they displayed? This is especially relevant in a time when antisemitism is rising all over the world. A dynamic conversation between Dr. Racelle Weiman - Holocaust Educator, scholar and film maker, and Dr. Renate Krakauer - Survivor, Author and Educator, will be moderated by Dr. Karen Mock - Human Rights Consultant and President of JSpaceCanada. This session will highlight the unique and crucial roles played by women in the Holocaust – survivors, partisans, resisters, righteous rescuers, friends, sisters, wives, mothers – role models all. So many acts of survival were, and still are, dependent on women. We can learn from the courageous actions of women in the Holocaust that can enhance our lives and our struggles today.
Dr. Renate Krakauer, BScPhm, MES, DHSt(Hon), EdD is a child Holocaust survivor, who was incarcerated with her parents in the Stanislawow Ghetto in Poland until her mother smuggled her out. After a brief career in pharmacy, Dr. Krakauer became the Director of the Centre for Women at Humber College and taught Women’s Studies at York University. Her next career was as Director of Human Resources, first in the City of York, then in the Ministry of Health, where she continued to be a change agent. Her last position was as President and CEO of The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences. Her self-assessment tool for learning-centred education, “Criteria for A Learning College”, was widely disseminated in Canada and the USA. Upon retirement, Dr. Krakauer wrote short stories and personal essays for journals and anthologies. “But I Had a Happy Childhood” was a companion piece to her father’s Holocaust memoir. Her novel, “Only by Blood” was published in 2015. She has one unpublished novel and is currently working on a collection of survivor stories. Dr. Krakauer has spoken to groups of students of all ages about her and her family’s Holocaust experience, as well as given talks about her novel to women’s groups, libraries, and at a Jewish Literary Festival.
Dr. Racelle Weiman is an international scholar in the field of Interreligious Dialogue, Post Holocaust Theology, Genocide Prevention and Minority Studies, and is a world -renowned lecturer and film producer. She has served as a lecturer and scholar-in-residence in over 35 countries, specialized in teacher training and professional development projects worldwide, appearing on radio, TV and in print. Currently, in addition to writing and producing films and heading special humanitarian initiatives, she leads educator seminars and global leadership training worldwide. Founding Director of the Dialogue Institute, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Weiman developed a global professional and academic training centre in interreligious and intercultural dialogue, interfacing with the U.S. State Department on issues of religious freedom. She assumed this position after her award-winning work as the founding Director of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati Ohio. In Israel, she served on the faculty of University of Haifa, Israel and on staff of The Ghetto Fighters’ Museum on Holocaust and Resistance (Beit Lohamei HaGhetaot) as well worked on projects for the Ministry of Education and the Foreign Ministry of Israel. Dr. Weiman was awarded the highest civilian Medal of Honor from the Philippines Government, Order of Lakandula, in recognition of her Holocaust refugee rescue research and advocacy. She served as a Fulbright Fellow in several countries, and has been honored by political, civic, social and academic bodies in the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Latvia, Indonesia, Jordan, Israel and Germany.
Dr. Karen Mock is a human rights consultant, psychologist and teacher educator. She taught for many years at the university level, is a former Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, where she coordinated and lead the Holocaust and Hope Educators Study Tour to Germany, Poland and Israel for 12 years. Karen is currently the President of JSpaceCanada, raising the progressive and pro-peace Jewish voice, and is an active founding member of the Antiracist Multicultural Education Network, the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims, the Canadian Arab Jewish Leadership Dialogue, and the Enhancing Social Justice Education Group. Well known as a dynamic speaker and workshop coordinator, Dr. Mock is qualified by the Canadian courts and Human Rights tribunals as an expert on antisemitism, racism, discrimination, hatred and hate group activity. She has received many awards and honours for her work including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, “for service to her community, peers and country,” and was inducted into to the Order of Canada in 2018.
Holocaust Reparations and Restitution, 1945-2020: Behind the Legal Battles
William R. Marks
William R. Marks, Esq., is a nationally-recognized expert in the field of German reparations and restitution, who began specializing in Holocaust-related compensation claims over two decades ago, after his historic success in the matter of American Holocaust survivor Hugo Princz. Since 1996, Mr. Marks’ firm, in cooperation with attorneys in Munich and Berlin, has led the legal and political battles to expand survivor eligibility for various compensation programs, particularly for German Social Security / Ghetto, Wiedergutmachung (health) and “Article 2” pensions. To date, they have represented over 40,000 Survivors (or heirs) worldwide and collected millions of dollars in client recoveries. Mr. Marks also participated in the landmark Nazi-era litigation against Swiss and Austrian banks, as well as German companies that used slave labor. Mr. Marks has been featured in national, legal and / or Jewish publications for his work on behalf of Survivors, including in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Post and in the book Soldiers and Slaves by New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who cited Marks for his efforts on behalf of military internees of WWII concentration camps with wartime claims to U.S. citizenship (like Hugo Princz). Join us as Marks discusses case studies and reflects upon the profound impact of his career-long pursuit of justice in service of those who endured the greatest trauma of our time.
Marks, a native New Yorker, is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College and the Georgetown University Law Center and a member of the New York, New Jersey and District of Columbia Bars. Prior to opening The Marks Law Firm in 1996, he worked at AIPAC, served as Legislative Director for Foreign Policy to former Congressman Mel Levine (D-CA) and was in private law practice.
Liberated & Rescued/СПАСЕННЫЕ И ОСВОБОЖДЕННЫЕ
Jewish "Children of War" from USSR & Descendants
Dr. Zelina Iskanderova & Lana Barkan
PROGRAM OFFERED IN RUSSIAN & ENGLISH
Not only adults, but the Children of War were direct or indirect victims of the wartime. WWII was a devastating experience for many Jews in the Concentration camps due to the Holocost, and for those displaced families, who were forced to abandon their homes and escape to safety mostly to Central Asia's region, where around 1.5 million civilians have been saved altogether. These heart-breaking stories of survival are reminders of everyday miracles in a peaceful life, which post-war generations are lucky to enjoy. In this program, Zelina and Alex Iskanderov, the former citizens of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, along with other participants and their descendants, recall the experience of growing up during and immediately after WWII. Both Alex's parents served in the Red Army, liberating the country and the world from Nazis, and Zelina's relatives were evacuated to Uzbekistan from Moscow (Russia) and Odessa (Ukraine). Their stories are remarkable historical accounts from the children's perspective - just like adults, they had to suffer and survive. Such tales of survival inspired Uzbek filmmakers from "Favvora films" for an outstanding documentary film "Big Heart of Tashkent" about the important role of Uzbekistan and its capital Tashkent in providing a safe place to evacuated children, women and elderly population, with almost 250,000 Jews being among them. This will be remembered forever!
Вторая мировая война была страшным испытанием и для сражавшихся на фронтах, и для мирных жителей, женщин, стариков и детей. особенно еврейских, которым грозила неминуемая гибель в аду Холокоста. Многие из них были спасены в эвакуации, в основном в Средней Азии, в Узбекистане, где всего было спасено более 1.5 миллионов человек. Алех Искандеров, инженер-физик, один и Детей войны, чьи родители более двух лет воевали с нацистами на фронте, освобождая (liberating) свою страну и весь мир от фашизма, и Зелина Искандерова, ученый-исследователь, чьи родные попали в эвакуацию в Узбекистан из Москвы (Россия) и Одессы (Украина), вместе с другими участниками программы, вспоминают в присутствии своих потомков жизнь ребёнка во время и сразу после окончания Второй мировой войны. Именно такие многочисленные истории вдохновили узбекских кинематографистов Студии "Favvora Films" на создание замечательного документального фильма "Большое сердце Ташкента" о исторически важной роли Узбекистана. и его столицы - Ташкента - в спасении эвакуированных детей, женщин и стариков. В Ташкенте оказалось более 250000 еврейских семей, спасшихся от нацистской расправы, смерти от голода или от военных действий. Именно эта опалённая войной и спасённая часть еврейского народа породила поколение свободных людей, изменивших мир и сделавших его лучше для всех народов, а главное - для своих детей, внуков и правнуков.
Dr. Zelina Iskanderova is a physicist and researcher in the field of interaction of atomic particles. Zelina is an Associate Professor of the Institute of Aerospace Studies, University of Toronto, and Head of the Department of Space Materials Integrity Testing Laboratory She is involved with the Jewish Russian Community Centre of Ontario, leads the program "Evening of Jewish Culture", dedicated to the outstanding talents of the Russian and Soviet Jews and their global impact. Zelina cooperates g with well-known Jewish scholars, artists, journalists and writers around the world, including the Yiddish writer Boris Sandler (former editor for many years of Yiddish “Vorwärts" publication in New York), Alexander Gorodnitsky (whose film "In Search of Yiddish," Zelina represented to the Toronto Jewish Film Festival), and well-known journalist Leonid Makhlis.
Lana Barkan is a communications and marketing specialist, TV host and producer, journalist, and promotional writer. Lana is passionate about Russian community initiatives, and collaborates with the Toronto Russian Film Festival, Russian Musical Drama Theatre, and similar educational centres. Lana also provides training in speech writing and public speaking.
Unveiling Holocaust Secrets to Prevent Future Genocides
Father Patrick Desbois
Father Patrick Desbois is the founder and president of Yahad - In Unum (“Together In One”), a non-profit organization dedicated to discovering genocidal practices around the world, providing documented proof of crimes against humanity, and a leading voice of protest on behalf of all past and present victims of mass murder. While documenting the evidence of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, known as the “Holocaust by Bullets,” Father Desbois and Yahad - In Unum have uncovered the location of more than 3,000 killing sites and documented more than 7,250 witness testimonies to the war crimes of the Einsatzgruppen (Nazi Death Squads). Father Desbois documented this research in two books: “Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews,” published in 2009, and “In Broad Daylight: The Secret Procedures Behind the Holocaust by Bullets”, released in early 2018. Since 2015, Father Desbois and his team have expanded their scope of anti-genocide vigilance by investigating the Yazidi massacres in Northern Iraq at the hands of ISIS and by helping survivors' transition back into society. In January of 2016, Father Desbois and Yahad - In Unum founded the first and only museum of the Holocaust in Central America. The Museum, located in Guatemala City, educates wide audiences on all matters pertaining to the Holocaust, genocide and anti-Semitism… not just in Guatemala but throughout Central America. In 2013, Father Desbois began teaching at the Program for Jewish Civilization in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University as an adjunct professor. In 2015, he became Professor of the Practice of the Forensic Study of the Holocaust at the Center for Jewish Civilization of the same university. Father Desbois has received numerous honors for his groundbreaking work, including the Humanitarian Award from the US Holocaust Museum and the 2017 Lantos Human Rights Prize.
In Every Generation, They Wish To Destroy Us: Antisemitism and Anti-Israelism as Factors in Jewish Identity
Dr. Deborah Lipstadt & Dr. Naomi Azrieli
Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, has published and taught about the Holocaust for close to 40 years. She is most known for her overwhelming victory following a libel lawsuit by notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving. The movie Denial (featured at Liberation75's Film Festival), starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Wilkenson, tells the story of this legal battle. Professor Lipstadt’s book, Antisemitism: Here and Now, was published in January 2019. Professor Lipstadt was also a historical consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and helped design the section of the Museum dedicated to the American Response to the Holocaust.
Dr. Naomi Azrieli is Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation. Since 2002, she has overseen the growth of the foundation into the largest public foundation in Canada. She was the strategic driver behind the Azrieli Neurodevelopmental Research Program and the Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research Program (with Brain Canada), the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars Program, the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre and the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry (both at CAMH), the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program, the Azrieli Centre for Autism Research at the Montreal Neurological Institute, the Azrieli Fellows Program and the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program (for which she is Publisher and Senior Editor). She serves on the boards of several national and international scientific, academic and cultural institutions, and was awarded France’s Legion of Honor (rank: Chevalier) in 2013.
The Holocaust, Genocides, Human Rights & Universal Lessons
Professor Irwin Cotler, Professor Payam Akhavan & Naomi Kikoler
Irwin Cotler is the International Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, an Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and long-time Member of Parliament, and an international human rights lawyer. He is a member of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, was recently named Canada’s first-ever Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, and heads Canada’s delegation to IHRA. He has intervened in landmark Charter of Rights cases in the areas of free speech, freedom of religion, minority rights, peace law and war crimes justice. As Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Irwin Cotler appointed the first indigenous and visible minority justices to the Ontario Court of Appeal, issued Canada’s first National Justice Initiative Against Racism and Hate, and made the pursuit of international justice a government priority. He chaired the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran; the Inter-Parliamentary Group of Justice for Sergei Magnitsky; the All-Party Save Darfur Parliamentary Coalition; the Canadian section of the Parliamentarians for Global Action and Member of its international council, the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism; and the International Commission of Inquiry into the Fate and Whereabouts of Raoul Wallenberg. Professor Cotler has served as Counsel to prisoners of conscience including Nelson Mandela. He is the recipient of sixteen honorary doctorates, has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the National Order of Quebec, and is a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient. He was elected 2014 Canadian Parliamentarian of the Year by his colleagues and, in 2015, received the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Inaugural Human Rights Award.
Payam Akhavan SJD (Harvard) is Senior Fellow at Massey College and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, with prior appointments at McGill, Oxford, Paris, and Yale. He is a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, formerly a UN prosecutor at The Hague for the Yugoslav and Rwanda genocide trials, and counsel before the European Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice, including the Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar. Payam is also Senior Fellow and Canadian Co-Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and Co-Founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre. He delivered the 2017 CBC Massey Lectures and his book "In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey" became the non-fiction bestseller in Canada. He is the recipient of the 2021 Human Rights Award of the Law Society of Ontario.
Naomi Kikoler is the director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. As the Center’s deputy director, she led Center’s policy engagement with the United States government, including undertaking the documentation of the commission of genocide by ISIS. Previously, she developed and implemented the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect’s work on populations at risk, and led the Centre’s advocacy. She worked on national security and refugee law & policy for Amnesty International Canada, the UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement at the Brookings Institution, and an election monitor in Kenya with the Carter Center. Naomi was an adjunct professor at New School University, is the author of numerous publications, is a Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, and was called to the Bar of Upper Canada.
Holocaust Denial, Distortion, Minimization & Glorification
Dr. Michael Berenbaum & Mark Weitzman
Dr. Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films. He is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute at the American Jewish University, where he is also a Professor of Jewish Studies. Michael was President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, Director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute at USHMM, and Project Director for USHMM. He was Director for the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, Opinion‑Page Editor for the Washington Jewish Week, and Deputy Director for the President's Commission on the Holocaust. Michael was the Hymen Goldman Adjunct Professor of Theology at Georgetown University, and has also taught at Wesleyan University and Yale University. Michael was the conceptual developer on the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Educational Center in Skokie, conceptual developer and chief curator of the Belzec Memorial, conceptual developer on the Memoria y Tolerancia in Mexico City, and historian to the National Museum of American Jewish History. He is currently working on the Memorial Museum to Macedonia Jewry in Skopje, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, and others.
Mark Weitzman is the Director of Government Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, architect of IHRA's adoption of the Working Definition of Antisemitism, and lead author of IHRA's Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion. Mark is an expert on trends in antisemitism, and is a winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award for best anthology for "Antisemitism, the Generic Hatred: Essays in Memory of Simon Wiesenthal," which he co-edited and contributed to. Mark is a member of the advisory panel of "Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief" of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Co-Chair of the Working Group on International Affairs of the Global Forum on Antisemitism, participant in the program on Religion and Foreign Policy of the Council on Foreign Relations, board member and former Vice-President of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, member of the official Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group of New York, and previous member of the advisory board of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy at Yale University.
Trauma and Triumph in Survivor Families
Dr. Robert Krell
The traumas visited upon Europe’s Jews during the Nazi occupation were unparalleled in scope and ferocity. All Jew were targeted: men, women, children, the aged and sick or disabled, the poor and the wealthy. The final act of murder was invariably preceded by humiliation and torture. In the case of children, only 7% living under Nazi domination, survived: 1.5 million were murdered. All survivors, adults and children, endured deprivation and loss along with unspeakable experiences, frequently for years on end. My relatively benign existence in hiding for 3 years as a child, has profoundly affected and influenced me and how I live and view the world. Wherein lies the triumph for those who have toiled in the shadow of the Shoah? I will discuss some aspects of resilience in the lives of well known and not so well known individuals who have succeeded beyond all expectations and predictions. In the process of confronting and valuing memory, survivors have had an extraordinary educational impact and created a legacy of meaningful contributions for succeeding generations.
Dr. Robert Krell was born in Holland and survived the Holocaust in hiding. The Krell family moved to Vancouver, Canada where he obtained an MD from the University of British Columbia and eventually became professor of psychiatry. Dr. Krell was Director of Child Psychiatry and also treated Holocaust survivors and their families as well as Dutch survivors of Japanese concentration camps. He established a Holocaust education program for high school students in 1976, an audio-visual documentation program recording survivor testimony in 1978 and assisted with the formation of child survivor groups starting in 1982. Dr. Krell served on the International Advisory Council of the Hidden Child Gathering in New York in 1991. He founded the Vancouver Holocaust Education Center which opened in 1994 and which teaches 20,000 students annually. He has received the State of Israel Bonds Elie Wiesel Remembrance Award, the Boston University Hillel Lifetime Achievement Award, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award as well as special recognition from the World Federation of Jewish Child Holocaust Survivors and Descendants. In 2020, he was awarded the Order of Canada. He has authored and co-edited ten books, twenty book chapters and over fifty journal articles.
Eradicating Survivor Poverty: Providing for Holocaust Survivors Around the World
Yael Eckstein & Eli Rubinstein
Generously sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) of Canada.
Seventy-five years ago, one of the greatest atrocities in history came to an end. And 75 years later, countless survivors of the Holocaust still live in obscurity, poverty, and isolation. Join us as Yael Eckstein and Rabbi Eli Rubenstein explore the work that still needs to be done to address the tremendous damage that Nazi brutality inflicted on these survivors. This session will explore how the mission of building bridges between the Christian and Jewish communities has created a ground-breaking alliance raising thousands of Holocaust survivors out of poverty today. It is only through creating bonds of understanding that people of every background and faith can assure that “never again” remains a clear and pressing priority.
Yael Eckstein serves as the President and CEO of the U.S. and Israel organizations. She has also served on the Board of Directors for IFCJ Canada since 2015. In June 2019, following the unexpected death of her father, Rabbi Eckstein, she succeeded him in his role and became President of IFCJ Canada. Yael oversees all programs for The Fellowship while serving as the international spokesperson for the organization. A tireless advocate for the Jewish people, she has been a frequent and influential voice combatting anti-Semitism. Yael is a hands-on executive, often found greeting olim (immigrants) upon their arrival to Israel, sitting with elderly Holocaust survivors in their homes, or distributing food to those in need. Yael has been featured in The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, The Times of Israel, Fox News, the Religion News Service, and the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2019, The Algemeiner named Yael to the Jewish 100, citing the positive influence she has made to Jewish life, and referring to her as “the world’s leading Jewish interfaith activist.” She was also named to The Jerusalem Post's "50 Most Influential Jews of 2020".
Eli Rubenstein is the National Director of The March of the Living Canada, an educational program that gathers thousands of Jewish youth from around the world in Poland and Israel to mark two of the most significant dates in the modern Jewish calendar. Eli is also the founder of the March of Remembrance and Hope, an educational initiative for college and university students of diverse faiths and ethnic backgrounds designed to teach about the grave consequences of hatred and prejudice through the study of the Holocaust in Poland & Germany. He is also religious leader at a Toronto synagogue founded by Holocaust survivors which sponsors Passover seders for the homeless and Holocaust education programs. In addition to his work with Holocaust education, Eli is a celebrated Jewish storyteller and President of the Israel Guide Dog Centre for the Blind. He has contributed his assistance to Veahavta, the Canadian Jewish Humanitarian Relief Organization, helping them organize their annual Passover Seder for the Homeless, and traveling on their behalf to Guyana and Zimbabwe to assist in their humanitarian work in these countries.
How to Speak to Your Children (and Grandchildren) About the Holocaust
Leora Schaefer, Dr. Amy Platt & Carrie Swartz
Understanding how and when to address sensitive issues with your child can be a challenge. This session will provide an opportunity to hear from experts in Holocaust education about age-appropriate ways to talk with young people about the Holocaust. Leora will share methods of assessing when a child is prepared to discuss the Holocaust (and its related themes of discrimination, hate, racism, and genocide), and provide frameworks for inspiring young people to stand up to hatred and bigotry. This program will also provide recommendations for books to support conversations about the Holocaust with children.
Leora Schaefer is the Director of the Canadian Facing History and Ourselves program. Facing History is an educational not-for-profit organization that engages students of diverse backgrounds in examinations of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism. Leora works with public and Catholic school boards across Ontario, and Jewish day schools in the Greater Toronto Area. Leora also oversees and facilitates professional development for Canadian educators on best practices and pedagogy.
Dr. Amy Platt is the Principal of the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School in Toronto, Canada. Amy works with the Board, faculty, families and community to ensure the school lives its’ mission and vision. Prior, Amy served as the Director of General Studies at Bialik Hebrew Day School, where she was committed to teachers' growth and implementation of the K-8 curriculum. Amy has a PhD from the University of Toronto, where she also taught pre-service educators.
Carrie is the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto where she oversees both the community preschool and supplementary learning programs for children from18 months old to 16 years old. Previously, Carrie was a museum educator in Washington DC at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She started out her career in education as a high school teacher in public school. Carrie has a Master's degree in Museum Education from the George Washington University and Bachelor degrees in both Education and History/Drama from Queen's University in Ontario. Carrie loves collecting objects that tell stories about the past and when it is safe to do so, travelling again with her husband and two kids.
Conversation with Holocaust Survivor, Irene Butter. Interviewed by John Bidwell.
USHMM Research Services: Searching Individuals & Capturing the Oral History of Survivors and Witnesses
Each year, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center receives thousands of requests from survivors and their family members hoping to find some information about loved ones who suffered or were murdered during the Holocaust. Through a meticulous research process, our highly trained staff review hundreds of collections and millions of pages of material to search for information relevant to the given family. Some searches return few results, but often we are able to provide families with new documents, photographs and other information on the lives and fates of their loved ones.
Dr. Diane Afoumado, Acting Director of Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center (USHMM) & Ina Navazelskis, Oral Historian at the National Institute for Holocaust Documentation (USHMM) will present on the Museum’s oral history interviewing and production program during the pandemic. Interviews have been conducted remotely via both audio and video. The Oral History Program documents and preserves testimonies as primary sources that allow family members, students, researchers, teachers and filmmakers to hear firsthand from those who experienced, witnessed or even perpetrated the genocidal policies and crimes of Nazi Germany and its allies and collaborators during the Holocaust. The USHMM maintains one of the largest Holocaust-related oral history archives in the world, with over 23,000 interviews in its collection from over 25 countries.
Digital Hate: What If Hitler Had Social Media?
Presented by Daniella Lurion (Educator & Tour Director for Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center) and Sharon Magor (Marketing & Communications Manager for Reena). An inclusive learning experience, the workshop is designed for all ages and led by renowned educators from Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center of Holocaust Studies, instructors from Reena, and individuals supported by Reena. Reena and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center of Holocaust Studies will facilitate an interactive and powerful virtual workshop on the power of propaganda used by the Nazis for their “first victims”- people with disabilities - in the Aktion T4 Euthanasia program, and subsequently throughout the Holocaust that targeted the Jewish people. This session will focus on its relevance to the modern day propaganda tool of social media, and wrap up with a video clip of the individuals supported by Reena who will share their thoughts on the Maxwell and Ruth Leroy Holocaust Remembrance Garden (located at the Reena Community Residence that commemorates the 200,000 people with physical, mental or developmental disabilities).
Founders of the Second Generation Movement
Helen Epstein, Dr. Eva Fogelman, Menachem Rosensaft, moderated by Kati Marton
On June 19, 1977, Helen Epstein’s NY Times Magazine cover story “Heirs of the Holocaust,” was read by more than 2,000,000 people. The interviewees verbalized what many children of Holocaust survivors were feeling but did not know how to articulate. Eva Fogelman and Bella Savran’s awareness groups for 2G were featured; they would be replicated across the world in the next decade. Menachem Rosensaft along with others spearheaded an international network. We will discuss how these three voices catapulted into a movement.
Helen Epstein is a journalist and the author, editor and/or translator of ten books . They include the Holocaust trilogy Children of the Holocaust, Where She Came From: A Daughter’s Search for Her Mother’s History (Nalezena Minulost) and The Long Half-Lives of Love and Trauma (O Cem Se Nemluvi). She translated Heda Kovaly's Under a Cruel Star into English and recently edited her late mother's memoir Franci's War.
Dr. Eva Fogelman is a pioneer in the field of group therapy for multi-generational Holocaust survivors. She is a psychologist in private practice in New York City who specializes in treating generations of the Holocaust and related historical traumas. Eva's subjects of research include post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological impacts of the Holocaust on Survivors (including Child Survivors) and second & third generation descendants of Survivors. Eva's research has also focused on morality, altruism, persecution, and coping with extreme conditions of terror including sexual abuse, and she specializes is assisting couples and families in complicated relationships. Eva is currently working on a book titled "Living with Ghosts: Post-Holocaust Generations Mourn."
Helen Epstein is a journalist and the author, editor and/or translator of ten books . They include the Holocaust trilogy Children of the Holocaust, Where She Came From: A Daughter’s Search for Her Mother’s History (Nalezena Minulost) and The Long Half-Lives of Love and Trauma (O Cem Se Nemluvi). She translated Heda Kovaly's Under a Cruel Star into English and recently edited her late mother's memoir Franci's War.
Menachem Z. Rosensaft is associate executive vice president and general counsel of the World Jewish Congress, and teaches about the law of genocide at the law schools of Columbia and Cornell Universities. He is the founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, and is the author of Poems Born in Bergen-Belsen (Kelsay Books, 2021).
Kati Marton is a best-selling author. From 2003-2008, Kati chaired the International Women’s Health Coalition. From 2001-2002, Kati was Chief Advocate for the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict at the United Nations. From 2000-2011, she was a member of the board of Human Rights Watch. Kati is currently a director and former chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Join a Beta Test of "Dimensions in Testimony" with Holocaust Survivor, Dr. Max Eisen & Anne Kelly of the USC Shoah Foundation
להקת המחול הקיבוצית - אמבכלל
Generously sponsored by the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company presents a moving theatrical event in figurative and abstract circles, from the closed form to the open structure. Physical space in motion whose essence is a chain of events of diverse and ever-changing interpersonal relationships.
Introduction by Yoni Avital (International Director)
Choreography, Stage & Lighting Design by Rami Be’er
Music by Volcano Choire, H. Gudnadottir, Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Murcof, Olafur Arnalds, M. Richter, J. Johansson, L. Einaudi, Ophir Leibovitch
Sound design by Rami Be’er, Alex Claude
Costume Design by Rami Be’er, Maor Zabar