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Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust Remembrance’

It was six years ago this evening, we shared a meal on the eve of Shabbat, after watching ourselves on a national broadcast that reached millions. Why does it seem, so long ago?

Maybe because it all seems so unbelievable- that out of the darkness of the past, on a day when the sun dawned clearly and was warming the Earth in its mid-April morning ascent, a low rumble was heard by  hushed and huddled groupings of tormented humanity as they strained to hope for friends amidst their lurking murderers. As the metallic clanking grew louder, over the horizon broke the earthly angels, two Sherman light tanks and an American Jeep with the emblem of the white star. A cry broke out. They realized they were saved, and the American major snapped a photograph at the exact moment the overjoyed survivors realized it.

And out of the past on a warm September day, we brought them all together again. Who would have believed that 62 years later, a high school in a quiet, rural part of the world would  bring the soldier-liberators and the rescued survivors together from the US, Canada, Israel and elsewhere? All because I couldn’t let go of a good narrative history, and pursued the story behind the photographs that proved it really happened?

And think about the risk you run, inviting hundreds of octogenarians to come to a high school for half a week to mingle with thousands of high school and middle schoolers? Talk about sweating bullets. What if they are uncomfortable? Cranky? Complaining? What if the kids I can’t control are rude? And what if one of these “old” folks, who I don’t even know, dies on our watch? I would lie awake at night wondering if I was out of my mind.

But the miracle came to be-for the two dozen or so elders who could come, tears flowed, wine spilled, and our “new grandparents” danced with young teenagers who adored them, but only after the risk was accepted, with the enthusiastic help of Mary Murray, Tara Winchell-Sano, and Lisa Hogan, Rene Roberge and others. Have a look at the videos, and feel the love. We created ripples, and tripped the wires of the cosmos, and the reverberations are still echoing. To date, with Varda Weisskopf’s and Frank Towers’ help, the list is at 275 survivors whom we have found. And how many generations has it effected?

This is the subject of my second book, due out this next summer. In the meantime, I am working on a shorter work of what I have learned in teaching the lessons of the Holocaust. So take a look at the videos, and remember the words of the liberator:

“Here we are! We have arrived!”

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Woodstock event remembers Holocaust

WOODSTOCK, N.Y. — A Yom Hashoah event that will remember the Holocaust will take place April 7 at 3 p.m. at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, 1682 Glasco Turnpike, Woodstock NY, 12498.

Synagogue Main Number (845) 679-2218
Email info@wjcshul.org
Persons of all faiths are welcome.

The Yom Hashoah  observance will include a candlelight memorial service, followed by an address by Matthew Rozell titled “Honoring the Hour of Liberation and Defeating the Legacy of Hitler.” Rozell is the founder of a project that has reunited survivors from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp with the U.S. soldiers who liberated them from a train transport during the closing days of World War II. To date, with the help of Varda Weisskopf and Frank Towers, more than 240 survivors worldwide have been located, and 10 reunions have taken place since 2007. Rozell is also a teaching fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and has spoken on behalf of its educational programs. His work can be seen at teachinghistorymatters.wordpress.com.

The ABC News video can be seen here.

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