The Holocaust Center for Humanity is shocked and saddened by the recent murders in Atlanta that took the lives of eight people, including six Asian women. We grieve with the families and friends of the victims and the broader community.
While the motive for these murders is not yet known, they were committed at a time of increasing violent attacks on Asian American and Pacific Islanders and are rooted in racism and xenophobia.
The Holocaust Center stands in unity with the Asian and Pacific Islander communities and all people who are target ed with identity based violence. We remain dedicated to empowering individuals to learn from the past, fight for human dignity, and take action.
As a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council, we stand in solidarity.
SAN FRANCISCO and NEW YORK (June 15, 2016) — Dr. George Elbaum of San Francisco, a businessman and aerospace engineer, who writes and speaks about his experience as a child survivor of the Holocaust, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship on June 5 from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The ceremony took place during the Technion Board of Governors (BOG) meeting (June 4-8, 2016) on the university campus in Haifa. Accompanied by his wife, Mimi Jensen, Dr. Elbaum was recognized for “devotion to the Technion and Israel . . . business accomplishments that have spanned the globe and bridged countries . . . and for sharing (your) story, in order to impart the message of tolerance to present and future generations.”
A steadfast supporter of the Technion and Israel, Dr. Elbaum is an active member of the American Technion Society (ATS) National Board of Directors, the ATS North Pacific Region Board and the Technion Board of Governors.
Together with his wife, he is a Technion Guardian — an honor reserved for those who support the Technion at the highest level. The couple has supported the Technion with gifts that include the George J. Elbaum Fund for the Satell Technion-MIT Leadership Program, the Whiteman International Foundation Fellowships (named after Dr. Elbaum's mother) in the Grand Technion Energy Program, and the Formula Student Race Car project.
Dr. Elbaum was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1938. As a child, he was smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto and lived with a series of Polish families who hid him and his Jewish identity from the Nazis. Only he and his mother survived, as they lost 10 family members to the Holocaust. In 1949, Dr. Elbaum immigrated to the U.S., and in 1955 he enrolled at MIT, where he earned four degrees — a bachelor’s and a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics, along with a second master’s and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering. He began his career in Los Angeles in the aerospace industry, and then moved into the international business arena. In 1972, he co-founded Intertorg, a consulting firm representing American and European corporations in the Soviet Union (including General Motors, U.S. Steel, Reebok, etc.), where he marketed their products and services. After 25 years, he switched gears again, turning to commercial real estate investment and development.
In 2010, he wrote and published Neither Yesterdays Nor Tomorrows, a book of vignettes from his childhood during the Holocaust, and started speaking to student groups across the U.S. and in Poland about survival and tolerance. In 2014, he followed his first book with a second volume, Yesterdays Revisited, about the feedback/letters he’s received from students at the 100-plus venues where he’s spoken.
The five-day BOG meeting was comprised of award ceremonies and dedications, presentations by speakers that included Middle East expert Ambassador Dennis B. Ross, and other events such as an Innovation Panel Discussion, featuring Technion graduates such as Dov Moran, inventor of the DiskOnKey (USB flash drive). Other San Francisco-area participants included Ruth Owades and Lou Lenzen.
Photo: George Elbaum (right) receiving an Honorary Fellowship from Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie at an awards ceremony on the Haifa campus on June 5, 2016.
"This book is expertly written and illustrated in a way that will keep any grade schooler’s attention while learning about the heartache and turmoil during this dark period of time." - Public speaker and educator Jeannie Opdyke Smith
What is it like for a child of eight to leave the only home he’s ever known, traveling alone by land and sea to an uncertain future? On the eve of World War II, this was the journey of young Steve Adler. Born in 1930 to a German-Jewish family, Steve was one of the lucky ones: finding refuge from persecution and danger during the Holocaust in England and later the United States.
This true story takes the reader swirling along with moments in history as seen through Steve’s eyes: from the moment his happy world in Berlin was shattered; to separation, evacuation, and foster homes in England; and finally, to stability and strength in the United States. Steve’s refugee story transcends time and place to illuminate the costs of war and bigotry, while also offering a beacon of human hope and resilience.
Steve later emigrated to the United States, ultimately settling in Seattle, Washington. Throughout his adult life, Steve used his story to champion the importance of Holocaust education as a longstanding member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau.
About the Authors:
Julia Thompson and Paul Regelbrugge, with their joint passion for Holocaust education, were an obvious choice when it came to selecting authors for the Holocaust Center's new graphic novel.
Julia Thompson, a creative and meticulous writer with a love of history and a close relationship with survivor Steve Adler, was the perfect person to adapt Steve's story into a graphic novel format.
Paul Regelbrugge, accomplished author and educator with a deep knowledge of Holocaust history and wide experience in the classroom, brings the story to life in a way that connects to readers of all ages.
Sean Dougherty is an artist and illustrator based in Seattle, where he lives with his wife, three children, and two cats. When he isn't painting or drawing, Sean can be found putting his psychology degree to good use as an observer of the human condition (AKA an avid people watcher) or playing with his kids in the park. This is his first graphic novel.
Watch a timelapse video to see how the art was created:
Thanks to donors Krijn & Judy de Jonge, Debbie Killinger, and Michele Rosen for making this project possible.
Learning about the events and details surrounding the Holocaust are a must. However, because of the cruelty and unimaginable crimes against humanity, teaching the subject to children can be difficult at best. The book, More Than Any Child Should Know, shares the true account of one 8 year old Jewish boy, whose life was forever changed by the events of the Holocaust. The reader follows young Stefan and his family as history unfolds from its subtle beginning through its end. This book is expertly written and illustrated in a way that will keep any grade schooler’s attention while learning about the heartache and turmoil during this dark period of time. I highly recommend the book as a good introduction to a very large and important topic. As a child of a survivor and rescuer, I know firsthand the necessity to keep history alive by sharing and teaching the message about what hate and prejudice can do, and how even one person can make a difference in doing something to help. - Jeannie Opdyke Smith, public speaker, educator, and daughter of Holocaust rescuer Irene Gut Opdyke
With More Than Any Child Should Know, the Holocaust Center for Humanity offers teachers and students across grade levels a resource that engages the reader with the story of the Alder family and carefully situates their experience within the larger scope of the Holocaust. While the interplay between the image and text in graphic novel offers teachers a range of opportunities to engage students in critical thinking through multimodal reading, the book also strategically integrates primary sources within the imagery of the book that prompts a more sophisticated layer of thinking for students. Aligned to Stefan “Steve” Adler’s goal in sharing his story, the authors smartly refer to various topics ranging from Japanese incarceration to Holocaust memorialization and, thus, provide teachers and students with starting points for civics-based, justice-oriented inquiry beyond More Than Any Child Should Know. - Dr. Jeff Eargle, Clinical Assistant Professor in Secondary Humanities Education, University of South Carolina
A poignant and beautifully illustrated tribute to Steve Adler, who shared memories of his boyhood in Nazi Germany, escape to Great Britain on the Kindertransport, and immigration to the United States with thousands of children in his lifetime. Through this book, full of honesty, humor, and historical context, Adler’s bravery and empathy will inspire many more generations. Highly recommended. - Rebecca Erbelding, historian and author of Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe
Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts
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UPCOMING LUNCH-AND-LEARN PROGRAMS:
Join us for our Lunch-and-Learn series to hear children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, notable speakers on timely issues, and historical experts.
These programs aim to present perspectives and voices that challenge and inspire people to confront bigotry, racism, and indifference, and to consider how their actions make a difference.
Disclaimer:The views, information, or opinions expressed in these programs are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of the Holocaust Center for Humanity and its employees.
In 2009, Dr. Wendy Lower, the acclaimed author of Hitler’s Furies, was shown a photograph newly revealed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. While the documentation of the Holocaust is vast, there are only a few known images of Jewish families at the actual moment of murder, in this disturbing photo, by German officials and Ukrainian collaborators. A Ukrainian shooter’s rifle is inches from a woman’s head, obscured in a cloud of smoke. The woman is bending forward, holding the hand of a barefoot boy. And—only one of the shocking revelations of Dr. Lower’s 10-year investigation of this image—the shins of another child, slipping from the woman’s lap.
Dr. Lower’s detective work—in Ukraine, Germany, Slovakia, Israel, and the United States—recovers astonishing layers of detail concerning the open-air massacres in Ukraine. Her search for the identities of the victims, of the killers—and, remarkably, of the photographer who openly took the picture, as a secret act of resistance—are dramatically uncovered. Finally, in the hands of this scholar, a single image unlocks a new understanding of the place of the family unit in the history and aftermath of Nazi genocide.
Wendy Lower, Ph.D., is the John K. Roth Professor of History and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College and chairs the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and served as its Acting Director at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.
1st & 3rd Tuesdays of every month, November 2021-February 2022
In the late 1920's, there were 1,500 Jewish people living in the Krefeld, Germany. One of them was young Rolf Gompertz. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Rolf remembers his world changing. On November 9, 1938, Nazi soldeiers banged at the door of his parents' apartment, demanding to be let in. They stormed into the apartment, ready to arrest Rolf's father. The Nazi's left before arresting him, but that night they would arrest 30,000 other Jewish men in what became known as Kristallnacht, a turning point in the Holocaust. Rolf would prove to be one of the lucky Jewish individuals to find refuge in the United States. Rolf's son Ron, tells his father's story of antisemitism and persecution and eventually building a new life as an immigrant in the United States.
Ron Gompertz works in the tech industry, a published author, and is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
Concentration Camps before Nazi Germany
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 | 12pm-1pm (PT)
With Andrea Pitzer
Registration coming soon!
The extermination camps of the Holocaust mark the nadir of the twentieth century and stand alone in history. But how did humanity come to that point? Before the death camps, a concentration camp system had existed for years in Nazi Germany. And before those early Nazi camps, places called "concentration camps" had existed for decades around the globe. Join us to learn how the idea of concentration camps entered the world, and how those roots fed the camps' most horrific and lethal incarnation.
Andrea Pitzer is the author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, which was named a best history book of 2017 by Smithsonian Magazine. She loves to unearth lost and forgotten history.
In addition to One Long Night, Pitzer is the author of Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World, which narrates the three Arctic voyages of Dutch navigator William Barents, and The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov. Andrea has written for The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, Outside, GQ, Vox, Slate, and elsewhere. Her books have been featured in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and on MSNBC, among other outlets. Her research has taken her to four continents and on multiple expeditions to the Arctic.
Searching for Survivors: The Fate of the St. Louis Passengers
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | 12pm-1pm (PT)
With Scott Miller
Registration coming soon!
In early June of 1939 the St. Louis, a ship carrying 937 refugee passengers – almost all of them Jews fleeing Nazi Germany – was denied entry into both Cuba and the United States. After sailing off the coast of Miami Beach and with no refuge in sight, the St. Louis had to sail back to Europe.
The story of the St Louis has become a symbol of America’s indifference to the plight of Jews during the Holocaust. The fate of the ship’s passengers, however, remained an unsolved mystery for over sixty years. Scott Miller will discuss his decade long search to uncover the fate of every passenger on board this famous and fateful journey.
Scott Miller was a founding staff member at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he worked for 30 years (1989-2019), and is the co-author (with Sarah Ogilvie) of Refuge Denied – The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust (University of Wisconsin Press: 2006) -- the story of their search for the St. Louis passengers.
Scott managed and was spokesperson for the Holocaust Museum’s Rescue the Evidence initiative – the program to build the collection of record on the Holocaust through the acquisition of primary source and original research materials. In this capacity directed the museum’s archival, artifact, photo, film, music and oral history collections.
Currently Scott is a curatorial consultant for the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.
Remembering Felicia: The Son of an Auschwitz Survivor Shares her Story
Tuesday, December 21, 2021 | 12pm-1pm (PT)
With Matthew Erlich
Registration Coming Soon!
Felicia Lewkowicz, was born in Krakow, Poland in 1923. Felicia was one of seven children, four girls and three boys. In the spring of 1941, Felicia and one brother were sent by the Nazis to the Krakow ghetto while her mother and other siblings were sent to Tarnow, 70 miles from Krakow. Luckily, Felicia was able to get work outside the ghetto, cleaning the offices of German officers. One day, she did not return to the ghetto, escaping onto a train which would take her to Vienna, Austria. On the way, she stopped in Tarnow where she saw her family for the last time.
In Vienna, Felicia was able to acquire false identity papers and found work in a hotel. When a friend was caught smuggling clothes, a photo of Felicia was found among the clothes and she fled the hotel for fear of being caught. The authorities caught up with Felicia and she was sent to Auschwitz as a political prisoner.
Against all odds, Felicia survived Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. She met her husband in a displaced persons camp in Germany and later moved to Canada before moving to the United States. Felicia's son Matthew Erlich tells her incredible story. Matthew is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
Tuesday, January 4, 2022 | To Be Announced!
The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive
Tuesday, January 18, 2022 | 12pm-1pm (PT)
With Lucy Adlington
Registration coming soon!
The Dressmakers of Auschwitz powerfully chronicles the stories of the women who used their sewing skills to survive the Holocaust, stitching beautiful clothes in an extraordinary fashion workshop within the Auschwitz concentration camp.
At the height of the Holocaust twenty-five young inmates of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp – mainly Jewish women and girls – were selected to design, cut, and sew beautiful fashions for elite Nazi women in a dedicated salon. It was work that they hoped would spare them from the gas chambers.
This fashion workshop – called the Upper Tailoring Studio – was established by Hedwig Höss, the camp commandant’s wife, and patronized by the wives of SS guards and officers. Here, the dressmakers produced high-quality garments for SS social functions in Auschwitz, and for ladies from Nazi Berlin’s upper crust.
Drawing on diverse sources – including interviews with the last surviving seamstress – The Dressmakers of Auschwitz follows the fates of these brave women. Their bonds of family and friendship not only helped them endure persecution but also to play their part in camp resistance. Weaving the dressmakers’ remarkable experiences within the context of Nazi policies for plunder and exploitation, Lucy Adlington exposes the greed, cruelty, and hypocrisy of the Third Reich and offers a fresh look at a little-known chapter of the Second World War and the Holocaust.
Author and scholar Mehnaz Afridi will discuss her book, Shoah through Muslim Eyes, which describes her journey with Judaism as a Muslim. Her book is based on the struggle of antisemitism within Muslim communities and her interviews with survivors. Rejecting polemical myths about the Holocaust and Jews, Afridi offers a new way of creating understanding of two communities through the acceptance and enormity of the Shoah. Her journey is both personal and academic as she reflects on the impact of the Holocaust, her interviews with survivors, antisemitism and Islamophobia, and Islam and memory.
Dr. Mehnaz Afridi earned her PhD in Religious Studies from the University of South Africa. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College (Riverdale, NY). Her research interests include the Holocaust; interreligious identity; post-genocide identity; Diaspora and Transnational Studies; and feminist post-colonial theory. Her publications and presentations have focused on the Qur'an and human rights, Islamic Literature and Culture; Judaism & Islam, Holocaust and antisemitism, including her co-edited book, Global Perspectives on Orhan Pamuk: Existentialism and Politics (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012). She received a National Endowment for Humanities Institute Grant in 2006 to study Venice, the Jews, and Italian Culture: Historical Eras and Cultural Representations; a Coolidge Fellow Grant from Union Theological School in 2003; and attended the Hess Seminar on Teaching Testimony and Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011. She has been a Board Member of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics since 2004.
Leo’s Journey – In My Father’s Words
Tuesday, February 15, 2022 | 12pm-1pm (PT)
With Richard Lowy
Registration coming soon!
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was the place where nearly 1.2 million jewish prisoners were exterminated, but it had another equally dark and tragic secret. It was ground zero for one of the largest human experimentation programs in the world. Where doctors performed horrific experiments on live prisoners, with a specific focus on twins. One of those twins was a 15-year-old boy named Leopold Lovi. (Leo Lowy).
Leo miraculously survived and went on to live a long and productive life, but the memories of what he and his twin sister Miriam had endured at the hands of Dr. Josef Mengele stayed with him until his dying days. Before he passed away in 2002, Richard encouraged his father to share his story so what Leo and the other twins endured, would never be forgotten.
Richard has chosen to deal with the burden of the painful truths of his father's story by sharing it. Though heartbreaking, the horrific implications of his father's story is truly a gift.
The BC Ministry of Education and BC Teacher’s Federation have both endorsed and presented "Leo’s Journey - In My Father’s Words" for the past 2 years on the Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau to all the High Schools and Universities in British Columbia. “In My Father’s Words” has been presented to full houses in the Johannesburg & Cape Holocaust & Genocide Museums (in association with the Apartheid Museum), the Vancouver Holocaust Educational Centre, Phoenix Holocaust Association, Schara Tzdeck Synagogue, UBC Holocaust Symposium to name a few.
Richard is currently developing a theatrical production of his father’s story.
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Thank you to our 2021 Lunch-and-Learn Sponsors:
The Frances Roth & Stanley R. Schill Foundation