Start Learning: Stream Lunch-and-Learn episodes at your convenience. Programs feature Holocaust survivors, their children and grandchildren, 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.
Becoming Bielski: A Personal Story of the Bielski Partisans*
With Sharon Rennert, Granddaughter of Tuvia Bielski | June 21, 2022
*Due to copyright, this program was not recorded
The Bielski Partisans bravely achieved the largest armed rescue of Jews by Jews during the Holocaust and have grown to tens of thousands of descendants living all over the world. Their story inspired the Hollywood film “Defiance” staring Daniel Craig as real-life partisan commander Tuvia Bielski. Tuvia’s granddaughter, Sharon Rennert, is a documentary filmmaker who has been exploring her family history for almost two decades. She will share her discoveries about her legacy which has taken her on a worldwide journey from Brooklyn to Belarus and has helped her build a rich family archive that provides uniquely personal insights into the inspirational heroes and survivors of the Bielski Partisans.
Sharon Rennert is a television editor, independent filmmaker, swing dancer and public speaker. She has a Bachelor of Science in Broadcasting and Film from Boston University and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California. She has been editing documentary and reality programs for over twenty-five years and is an active member of American Cinema Editors and the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild. She shares the Bielski story whenever possible to help honor the memory of her grandparents and pass this important part of Jewish history on through the generations.
Special thanks to the Powell Family Foundation for their commitment to Holocaust education and for making this program possible.
Pink Triangle Legacies: Coming Out in the Shadow of the Holocaust
With Dr. Jake Newsome | Tuesday, June 7, 2022 | Commemorating LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June!
LGBTQ+ communities have long been regarded as one of the “forgotten victims” of the Nazi regime. Yet, were they truly forgotten? Using archival evidence, Dr. Jake Newsome reveals how societies purposefully silenced LGBTQ+ Holocaust victims for decades, which had devastating consequences for generations of LGBTQ+ Germans. Ignored by the historical profession and the majority of the population, LGBTQ+ communities set out to write their own history, and transformed the pink triangle - the badge once forced upon gay concentration camp prisoners - into the original LGBTQ+ symbol of pride, social activism and positive identity. The history of the pink triangle’s transformation teaches us about the dangers of ignoring the past, as well as the power of history to heal and empower communities.
Dr. Jake Newsome is an award-winning scholar of German and American LGBTQ+ history whose research and resources educate global audiences. His forthcoming book Pink Triangle Legacies: Coming Out in the Shadow of the Holocaust (Cornell University Press, Sept. 2022) chronicles the ongoing struggle for the acknowledgment and memorialization of the Nazis’ LGBTQ+ victims. It also traces the transformation of the pink triangle from a concentration camp badge in Nazi Germany into a symbol of queer activism, pride, and community beginning in the 1970s. In addition to serving as a historical advisor for film projects, podcasts, and plays, Dr. Newsome has been invited by the French, UK, and US governments to speak about the important lessons that LGBTQ+ history has for all of us today. He now works as a museum professional in Washington, DC.
UNDERSTANDING & DISRUPTING GENOCIDE: Lunch-and-Learn Series
Survivors, eyewitnesses, and experts to help us to better understand and recognize genocide so that we can turn our collective knowledge into action.
6. Justice for the Rohingya
With Wai Wai Nu | May 17, 2022
Wai Wai Nu will share how she emerged from seven years as a political prisoner in Burma to work for democracy and human rights, particularly on behalf of marginalized women and members of her ethnic group, the Rohingya.
Wai Wai Nu is a human rights advocate from Myanmar and a former political prisoner dedicated to building democracy, human rights, and more inclusive futures for all people of Myanmar, including her Rohingya community. She is a recipient of the City of Athens Democracy Award, the N-Peace Award, and the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award. She has been named a TIME Next Generation Leader, a Global Thinker by Foreign Policy Magazine, and one of the BBC 100 Women. She was a Liberty & Leadership Scholar at the Bush Institute and an Obama Foundation Scholar at Columbia University. Nu has given talks at the United Nations, the United States Congress, and many universities around the world. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Peace Network and was recently a Fellow at the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
5. Hitler’s Courts: The Misuse of Executive and Judicial Power
With Joshua Greene | May 3, 2022 | 1 CLE Ethics Credit Available Through May 17, 2022
Part 1: Hitler's Courts Documentary Film (30 min)
Part 2: Joshua Greene Commentary (30 min)
What happens when the legal establishment becomes a tool in the hands of a dictatorial government? This eye-opening talk by author-filmmaker Joshua M. Greene reveals the consequences of appointing judges based not on their wisdom but on their allegiance to the head of state.
Joshua M. Greene, is a Fellow at Yale University’s Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies. He completed his graduate degrees in religious studies at Hofstra University. His books on Holocaust history have sold more than one-half million copies and are published in five languages, and his documentary films on war crimes trials and eyewitness testimony are seen on PBS and Discovery. He has been a featured speaker at the Pentagon, the Judge Advocates College, the New York Public Library Distinguished Authors series, and at synagogues, churches, universities, and law schools nationwide. He served as Director of Strategic Planning for the United Nations Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders and is a mediator serving in the New York area.
Special thank you to the Holocaust Center's Lawyer's Committee: Ruth Atherton, Marc Boman, Kathy Feldman, Chuck Maduell, Christina MacDonald, Jay Riffkin, Rob Spitzer, and Jeff Sprung
4. Confronting Collective Complicity: The Uyghur Genocide Creeps Close to Home
With Rushan Abbas | April 19, 2022
A few short years ago, most people had never heard of the Uyghur people. But even as awareness has risen following national designations of the genocide, and the Uyghur Tribunal’s independent finding, most remain unaware of the complicity western organizations and firms have in it. This presentation will aim to lay out the reasons for the genocide, and the ways the international community must respond collectively.
Rushan Abbas was born, raised, and attended university in Urumchi, the capital city in East Turkistan (AKA Xinjiang). She has been an activist since her days at university in East Turkistan, where she co-organized pro-democracy protests in the mid and late 80s. Since coming to the United States, she has co-established the first Uyghur organization in the US in 1993 and served as the vice president. She has been a tireless advocate for Uyghur rights. Recently, after Beijing accelerated the genocidal policies in East Turkistan, in 2017, she established the Campaign for Uyghurs to advocate for her people among the government officials and lawmakers, interfaith organizations, universities and think tanks and as well as the grassroots movements. In September 2018, her own sister was abducted by the Chinese regime and illegally sentenced to prison in retaliation for Abbas’s activism. Today, Abbas continues to advocate for her release and the freedom of millions of other Uyghurs as well as delivering remarks at national and international forums. She works frequently with the State Department to engage with international civic society and meets with international government leaders. Ms. Abbas received a Freedom Fighter 2019 Award for her work raising awareness on the current Uyghur Genocide. She resides in Virginia.
3. Solidarity for Impact
With Andrea Gittleman | April 5, 2022
Andrea Gittleman provides an overview of ongoing and emerging conflicts across the world that our community should be aware of as we consider opportunities to turn remembrance into action.
Andrea Gittleman is a senior program manager for the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, where she focuses on policy outreach, justice and accountability efforts for mass atrocities, and leads the Center's work on Burma/Myanmar. Previously she was interim director of US policy and senior legislative counsel at Physicians for Human Rights where she designed advocacy and policy strategies on a broad range of international human rights issues, including mass atrocities. Prior to attending law school she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania where she managed gender and development programs.
2. Surviving Genocide: My Family, My Rwanda, My Life
With Emmanuel Turaturanye | March 15, 2022
Emmanuel was just 16 years old when, beginning April 7, 1994, approximately 1 million people, including over 100 members of Emmanuel's family, were murdered in just 100 days in Rwanda. All the while, the world community not only stood by and watched, but UN and other forces withdrew, leaving so many defenseless in the face of genocide. The Holocaust Center for Humanity is proud to be a partner with the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education to share presentations from survivors of genocide.
Emmanuel Turaturanye was born and lived, together with his parents, five brothers and sisters and three cousins in the Ngoma province of Rwanda. After having lost over 100 members of his family in the 1994 genocide, he eventually met, and later married Danielle, a travelling missionary in Rwanda. Emmanuel now lives and works in Beaverton, OR, motivated to tell the story of his family and Rwanda to help educate people about the devastating consequences of hatred. Emmanuel is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
1. Voices from Srebrenica: Survivor Narratives of the Bosnian Genocide
With Hasan Hasanović and Ann Petrila | March 1, 2022
In the hills of eastern Bosnia sits the small town of Srebrenica, now infamous for the genocide that occurred there during the Bosnian War. In July 1995, when the town fell to Serbian forces, 12,000 Muslim men and boys fled through the woods, seeking safe territory. Hunted for six days, more than 8000 were captured, killed at execution sites and later buried in mass graves. Hasan Hasanovic was one of the survivors. Years later, he and Ann Petrila would set out to interview survivors, providing eyewitness accounts of a genocide and revealing stories of individual trauma, loss and resilience in their book, Voices from Srebrenica: Survivor Narratives of the Bosnian Genocide.
Hasan Hasanović is the head of the oral history team at the Srebrenica Memorial Center, and a survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide. Hasanović survived the genocide but other family members did not, including his twin brother and his father. He educates thousands of visitors each year at the Memorial.
Ann Petrila, MSW, MPA is a Professor, the Coordinator of Global Initiatives, and Director of Global Practice Bosnia at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. Every summer she leads an experiential Bosnia-based course and internship program for University of Denver graduate students and has taken close to 300 university students to Bosnia. She is dedicated to raising awareness and telling the truth about the genocide in Bosnia.
WINTER SERIES: November 2021-February 2022
8. Leo’s Journey – In My Father’s Words
With Richard Lowy | February 15, 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp 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, Leo's son Richard encouraged his father to share his story so that the suffering of Leo and the other twins would never be forgotten.
Special thank you to Gail Fox for sponsoring this week's program.
7. The Holocaust through Muslim Eyes
With Dr. Mehnaz Afridi | February 1, 2022
Author and scholar Mehnaz Afridi discusses 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 Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College (Riverdale, NY). 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 numerous grants, fellowships and awards for her outstanding work and speaks to audiences around the globe. Mehnaz is one of only a small handful of Muslim scholars teaching about the Holocaust. Her work has built bridges across communities and has challenged people of all faiths to look beyond their assumptions.
6. The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive
With Lucy Adlington | January 18, 2022
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.
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.
Lucy Adlington has written and published more than 13 award winning and acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is a clothes historian with a passion for vintage and antique costume. For more than twenty years Lucy has collected antique garments, researched dress history and shared stories of people’s lives through clothes, which she explains reveal so much about culture, technology, trade, exploration, identity and creativity.
5. My Soul is Filled with Joy: A Holocaust Story
With Karen Treiger | January 4, 2022
The award winning book, My Soul is Filled with Joy, tells how Sam and Esther Goldberg met in the Polish forest – just outside of the Treblinka Death Camp. It was August 3, 1943, just one day after Sam escaped the camp during a prisoner uprising. With 870,000 murdered at Treblinka, Sam was one of approximately 65 to survive and live until the end of the war. Esther had been hiding in that patch of forest for a year and was out that morning, looking for mushrooms to eat. They met and after hearing of the prisoner revolt, she took him to the Righteous Gentiles who, at great danger to themselves, helped to hide them until they were liberated by the Red Army in July of 1944.
Local author Karen Treiger, is Sam and Esther’s daughter-in-law. Karen Treiger retired from her law practice in 2015 to research and write her in-laws’ story of survival during the Holocaust. She graduated from New York University Law School, with honors, in 1988, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. She lives in Seattle and is an accomplished and dynamic speaker. Karen has presented at many Continuing Legal Education Conferences, community events, and is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
4. Remembering Felicia: The Son of an Auschwitz Survivor Shares Her Story
With Matthew Erlich | December 21, 2021
Felicia Lewkowicz, was born in Krakow, Poland in 1923. In the spring of 1941, Felicia and one of her brothers 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.
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.
3. Searching for Survivors: The Fate of the St. Louis Passengers
With Scott Miller | December 7, 2021
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.
2. Concentration Camps before Nazi Germany
With Andrea Pitzer | November 16, 2021
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.
1. My Father Was One of the Lucky Ones
With Ron Gompertz | November 2, 2021
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.
FALL SERIES: Connecting the Holocaust to Today
6. October 26, 2021 | The Ravine: A Family, A Photograph, A Holocaust Massacre Revealed
With Dr. Wendy Lower
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.
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.
5. October 19, 2021 | My Family's Story: Survival, Escape, and Immigration
With Daphna Robon
Daphna Robon tells the story of her parents, Imre Friedmann and Naomi Kraus. Both natives of Budapest, Hungary, they endured not only the antisemitism of pre-war Europe, but the persecution of the Nazi regime; Imre in a labor camp and Naomi hidden in a Swiss “safe house” under a false identity. Following the war, Imre escaped to Vienna where he was able to earn his Ph.D., eventually immigrating to become a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he met Naomi. She also earned a Ph.D. at the university and they eventually relocated to the U.S. to highly successful careers.
Daphna was born in Israel and spent most of her childhood years in Houston, Texas. She now lives in the Seattle area with her family and began sharing her family story as a Holocaust Center speaker in 2021.
4. October 12, 2021 | That is 800 Children: Nazi Germany, the United States, and (Dismantling) Global Anti-Blackness
With Dr. Emanuela Kucik
What is the relationship between Nazi Germany and anti-Blackness—and of the role of the United States in that relationship? Dr. Emanuela Kucik will provide an expanded narrative of the Holocaust and of racialized violence around the world to better understand the global intersections of oppressive systems. In showing how these connected structures sustain each other, she will demonstrate that dismantling one piece of systemic oppression will begin to unravel the others.
Dr. Emanuela Kucik is an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies and the Co-Director of the Africana Studies Program at Muhlenberg College. She is committed to intertwining scholarship and activism to highlight how literature can combat genocide, its precursors, and its reverberations.
3. October 6, 2021 | Restitution After WWII: Suing Hitler's Business Partners - With Professor Michael Bazyler, Chapman University
A Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program | (CLE credit is no longer available for this presentation)
The Holocaust was both the greatest mass murder and the greatest theft in modern history. This presentation will discuss how America’s civil justice system provided a measure of long overdue justice to Holocaust victims and heirs. We examine claims for return of Nazi-looted art, stolen Jewish real property in Europe, Holocaust-era insurance policies, slave labor, and bank deposits held by Swiss banks. Our focus will be on both past and ongoing litigation, including the latest Nazi-looted Holocaust case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021 (Phillip v. Germany), for which the speaker co-authored an amicus brief. We will also touch upon efforts to use the Holocaust restitution model as a template for other suits involving historical atrocities, including African-American reparations.
Michael Bazyler is a professor of law and the 1939 Law Scholar in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies at Chapman University. He has authored seven books and more than two dozen law review articles, book chapters, and essays on subjects covering Law and the Holocaust and restitution following genocide and other mass atrocities.
Thank you to our sponsor: Homestreet Bank. | Thank you to our Community Partners: Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, Cordozo Society of Washington State, and Foster Garvey. | Thank you to our Lawyers Committee: Ruth Atherton, Marc Boman, Kathy Feldman, Christina MacDonald, Chuck Maduell, Jay Riffkin, Rob Spitzer, Jeff Sprung
CLE Lecture Readings
1. www.swissbankclalims.com: The Legacy and Morality of the Holocaust-Era Settlement with the Swiss Banks. By Michael Bazyler. Fordham International Law Journal.
2. Suing Hitler's Willing Business Partners: American Justice and Holocaust Morality. By Michael Bazyler. Jewish Political Studies Review (Fall 2004)
3. Trading with the Enemy: Holocaust Restitution, the United States Government, and American Industry. By Michael Bazyler and Amber Fitzgerald. Brooklyn Works (2003)
4. Supreme Court Denies Holocaust Victims' Property Claims Against Nazi Germany, Hungary. By Jess Bravin. Wall Street Journal (Feb. 3, 2021)
2. September 28, 2021 | Ordinary Men Revisited Three Decades Later - With Dr. Christopher Browning
What turns an ordinary man into a cold-hearted murderer? Nearly 30 years ago, author Christopher Browning brought us the dark history of those whose duty it was to accomplish the Nazi Final Solution in Ordinary Men. The book documented the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, a paramilitary formation of men comprised of average, middle-aged working class German men who were responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning’s book examined how quickly these seemingly ordinary people were twisted by ideological indoctrination, loyalty to the battalion, and ultimately cowardice and bigotry, to sink into the depths of savagery under Hitler to murder millions of Jewish people and other “undesirables.”
This talk will look at the origins and initial arguments of the book, the critiques it faced in the 1990s, and subsequent developments in Perpetrator Studies.
Thank you to our Community Partners: Amnesty International Seattle Group 4, Jewish Family Service
1. September 21, 2021 | The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos With Judy Batalion
While conducting research on poet and Special Operations Executive member Hanna Senesh, Judy Batalion unexpectedly found the 1946 Yiddish book, Freuen in di Ghettos (Women in the Ghettos), filled with accounts about young Jewish women who defied the Nazis. These Polish-Jewish “ghetto girls” paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in teddy bears, flirted with Nazis, and shot them. They distributed underground bulletins, flung Molotov cocktails, bombed German supply trains, organized soup kitchens, and were bearers of the truth about what was happening to the Jews. In this discussion, Judy will relay several of these women’s stories, describe her years of research into the history of Polish-Jewish resistance, and discuss why so many of these tales remained hidden for so long.
Join Judy Batalion, New York Times-bestselling author of the highly-acclaimed The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, published by William Morrow in April 2021. The Light of Days has been published in a young readers’ edition, will be translated into nineteen languages, and has been optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture for which Judy is co-writing the screenplay.
September 14, 2021 | More Than Any Child Should Know: Holocaust Center launches new graphic novel
Steve Adler personified the remarkable strength and resilience of so many of our local Holocaust survivors, dedicating much of his life to telling his story to inspire students to confront bigotry and indifference and take action.
In 2021, the Holocaust Center began developing a graphic novel based on Steve’s experience during the Kindertransport, which delivered thousands of Jewish children out of Nazi-controlled areas and into safety.
Recent research from Northwestern and others shows that graphic novels are excellent for readers of all levels as they challenge the brain to interpret both text and images, adding complexity to the storytelling and history.
Join novel co-authors Paul Regelbrugge and Julia Thompson, both team members with the Education department at the Holocaust Center, artist Sean Dougherty, and special guest, Barbara West, Steve Adler's daughter, as they explore the process it took to take Steve’s story from concept to reality.
Thank you to our Community Partners: Amnesty International Seattle Group 4, Jewish Family Service
July 27, 2021 | Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig’s Astonishing Journey from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend
With author and biographer Joshua M. Greene and special guest Ivan Wilzig, son of Siggi Wilzig
As a teenager, Siggi Wilzig used his wits to stay alive in Auschwitz, pretending to have trade skills the Nazis could exploit to run the camp. After two death marches and near starvation, he was liberated from Mauthausen and went to work for the U.S. Army hunting Nazis, a service that earned him a visa to America. On arrival, he made three vows: to never go hungry again, to support the Jewish people, and to speak out against injustice. He began his career selling neckties from the trunk of his car, and in little more than a decade rose to become CEO of both a publicly traded oil company and a bank with assets in excess of $4 billion.
Joshua M. Greene is a renowned Holocaust scholar and filmmaker whose biographies have sold more than a half-million copies worldwide.
July 20, 2021 | Losing and Finding Jewish Identity: A Journey from Post-War Communist Hungary to America With Judy Temes
In 1969, when Judy Temes was just five years old, she was left by her parents seeking to escape Communist Hungary. With borders sealed, there were few options for crossing the East-West divide. Her father—a Holocaust survivor desperate to leave behind Hungary's totalitarian government and the legacy of the Holocaust—used tourist visas to take his wife and 12-year-old son to the West. These visas came at a high price: one child would need to be left behind. Left with an antisemitic uncle in a destitute Hungarian village, five-year-old "Juditka" had to cope with not only her parent's apparent desertion, but questions about her real identity and what it means to be a Jew. Judy documented her story in the heartrending book, Girl Left Behind.
Judy Temes teaches middle school humanities in Seattle's Torah Day School and is a former business reporter.
Thank you to our community partner: Torah Day School of Seattle
July 13, 2021 | Resistance Fighter and Holocaust Survivor Carla Peperzak in Conversation with Dr. Ray Sun
In May of 2021 it was announced that a new middle school in Spokane would be named Carla Peperzak Middle School.
Next year, Carla Peperzak Middle School will invite its students to draw inspiration from its namesake, a woman who fought the Nazis to save Jewish people during the Holocaust.
At the age of 18, Carla Peperzak joined the Dutch resistance. She helped save her aunt, uncle, and two cousins, hiding them at a farmhouse in the Dutch countryside. Later, disguised as a German nurse, Carla rescued her young cousin from a deportation train. Throughout the war, she continued to secure hiding places for Jews, published an underground newspaper, and created fake identification papers and ration cards. While Carla and her immediate family survived the Holocaust, 18 members of her family did not.
Dr. Raymond Sun is Associate Professor of History at Washington State University with a specialty in Holocaust and genocide studies.
Thanks to our community partners: Washington State University - History Department, Dutch in Seattle, The Woman's Century Club
June 29, 2021 | How to Use the "Master's Tools"...Or Not with Kendell Pinkney
Embracing our Humanity and Diversity Series Sponsored by Verizon - Part 4 of 4
Among the many critical social issues that have filled the headlines over the past years, the push for financial reparations (to address the enduring legacy of American slavery) among some activists has become a hot-button topic that has garnered much debate. While it is impossible to settle such a complex matter, what ideas might Jewish text offer us in our wrestling with such a complex issue?
Kendell Pinkney is a Brooklyn based theatre-maker, Jewish-life consultant, and rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was recently featured in Saturday Night Seder and on the Crooked Media podcast, Unholier than Thou. His collaborative works have been presented at venues such as 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, the 14th St. Y, and Two River Theatre, to name a few. In addition to his creative work, he is the rabbinic intern for the Jewish arts and culture organizations Reboot and LABA, and serves on the Spiritual Direction team at Ammud: The Jews of Color Torah Academy.
Thank you to our community partners: Northwest African American Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Wing Luke Museum
June 22, 2021 | The History of Anti-Asian Hatred and the WWII Japanese-American Incarceration
with Tom Ikeda
Embracing our Humanity and Diversity Series Sponsored by Verizon - Part 3 of 4
Join Tom Ikeda, executive director of Densho, an organization dedicated to preserving, educating, and sharing the story of World War II-era incarceration of Japanese Americans, who will share a brief history of anti-Asian hate in the United States. He will also discuss his own family’s personal experiences during WWII, when his parents and grandparents were incarcerated in the Minidoka, Idaho internment camp, and why this history is important to understanding and improving equity today.
Tom Ikeda is the founding Executive Director of Densho. Tom is a sansei (third-generation Japanese American) who was born and raised in Seattle. In addition to leading the organization over the last 24 years, Tom has conducted more than 250 video-recorded, oral history interviews with Japanese Americans, receiving numerous awards for his community and historical contributions.
Thanks to our community partners: Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, Densho, Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Wing Luke Museum
June 15, 2021 | Becoming Bielski: A Personal Story of the Bielski Partisans with Sharon Rennert
Embracing our Humanity and Diversity Series Sponsored by Verizon - Part 2 of 4
The Bielski Partisans bravely achieved the largest armed rescue of Jews by Jews during the Holocaust and have grown to tens of thousands of descendants around the world. Their story inspired the Hollywood film “Defiance” starring Daniel Craig as real-life partisan commander Tuvia Bielski. Tuvia’s granddaughter, Sharon Rennert, is a documentary filmmaker who has been exploring her family history for almost two decades. She will share her discoveries about her legacy which has taken her on a worldwide journey from Brooklyn to Belarus and has helped her build a rich family archive that provides uniquely personal insights into the inspirational heroes and survivors of the Bielski Partisans.
Sharon Rennert is a television editor, independent filmmaker, swing dancer, and public speaker. She has been editing documentary and reality programs for over twenty-five years and is an active member of American Cinema Editors and the Motion Picture Editors Guild. She shares the Bielski story whenever possible to help honor the memory of her grandparents and pass this important part of Jewish history on through the generations.
Thanks to our community partners: Seattle Art Museum, Wing Luke Museum
June 8, 2021 | Creative Inspiration: Winners of the 2021 Holocaust Writing, Art, & Film Contest
Join us for this special edition of our Tuesday Lunch-and-Learn program. With more than 577 entries from 55 schools, we'll meet the winners of this year's Holocaust Writing, Art, and Film contest--the students who are carrying on the stories of the Holocaust and transforming this history into action. Learn about what inspired them and join us in celebrating their work.
With special guests, Holocaust survivors Henry Friedman and Carla Peperzak.
For a complete list of the winners and their entries, visit the Writing, Art, & Film Contest page.
June 1, 2021 | If Not Now, When? A Case for Allyship in Difficult Times | With Hilary Bernstein
Embracing our Humanity and Diversity Series - Sponsored by Verizon | Part 1 of 4
One lesson we have learned from the Holocaust is the terrible cost of complicity. We know what happens when good people choose to look the other way in the face of hatred and bigotry. In 2021, how can we overcome our own tendencies to remain silent when encountering examples of prejudice and bias? Join us to examine a framework for active allyship, along with strategies for engaging in conversations that lead to meaningful connections with others.
Hilary Bernstein is a respected education consultant, with nearly 20 years’ experience facilitating discussions focused on bias, diversity, and creating positive change. Prior to consulting, she was Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League in the Pacific NW for 15 years, where she addressed antisemitism and other forms of prejudice and bigotry throughout a five-state region.
Thank you to VERIZON for sponsoring this 1st talk in a 4-part series: "Embracing our Humanity and Diversity."
Thanks to our community partners: Anti-Defamation League Pacific Northwest | Seattle Art Museum | Wing Luke Museum
May 25, 2021 | The Train I Missed: A Hidden Child in Holland during the Holocaust
A miraculous story of survival, family, and community, the documentary film, “The Train I Missed” follows the journey of retired Dutch businessman, Ernst Van Gelderen, as he revisits his experiences as a hidden child during the Holocaust.
Ernie was a 3-year-old Jewish child growing up in The Hague, Netherlands in 1942 when his parents made the heart-wrenching choice to place him into hiding without them. This begins a miraculous tale of survival and sacrifice set against the horror and tragedy of the Holocaust. Interwoven with the past, Ernst takes us on an emotional journey to revisit the sites of his experiences as a hidden child.
Michael Kleven and Elke Hautala are performing artists who decided to step behind the camera. They have created over 15 film projects together from short form promotional to music videos to feature documentaries.
Thanks to our community partner: Herz-ner Tamid
May 18, 2021 | One Voice, Two Lives: How Music Saved My Grandfather in Auschwitz
Award-winning singer Avi Wisnia shares the stories and songs of his grandfather, Cantor David S. Wisnia, tracing his grandfather’s harrowing journey from young Polish singing star to Auschwitz prisoner to American liberator with the 101st Airborne. Cantor Wisnia’s remarkable singing voice helped save him in the Nazi concentration camp.
The program explores the importance of preserving David’s stories of survival, as chronicled in his memoir “One Voice, Two Lives.” Avi touches on the Wisnias’ return to Poland to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, as well as the powerful intergenerational connection featuring music performed by David Wisnia and his grandson. This story highlights the urgency of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive and passing on this legacy from generation to generation.
May 11, 2021 | Fleeing Germany: My Family's Story
Seattle attorney Steve Pruzan is a long way from his grandparents' farm in Germany, yet he feels a deep responsibility to keep their story of escape to the United States alive.
Steve’s grandparents, Max and Helene Schlonau, owned a large farm in Warmsen, Germany for many generations, a gathering place for nearby family.
In 1938, with Germany under Nazi control, they fled Germany for the United States. Their grandson, Steve Pruzan will share their story of discrimination, escape, tenacity, and eventually rebuilding.
Steve, a Legacy Speaker on the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau, has done extensive research on their lives in Germany and presents primary sources that reveal just how lucky they were to escape and immigrate to the United States.
Thank you to our community partners: Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Jewish Family Service, Washington State Jewish Historical Society
May 4, 2021 | Belonging, and Not Belonging: A Holocaust Survivor's Daughter in the World of Horses
Sarah Maslin Nir in conversation with Dr. Sarah Zaides Rosen
“Even when I was that young, even before I fully understood what it meant when dad told me he survived the Holocaust, masquerading as a Catholic with a false baptismal certificate when he was just nine years old in Poland, I knew that somehow I was an outsider in the world I had become infatuated with – the world of ponies.” - Sarah Maslin Nir
Sarah Maslin Nir is an award-winning staff reporter for The New York Times and author of the acclaimed, Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal.
Dr. Sarah Zaides Rosen received her PhD at the University of Washington and currently serves as the Associate Director of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington as well as the Director of the Graduate Fellowship Program. She is also a competitive equestrian.
April 27, 2021 | My Family and the Rwandan Genocide presented by Paul Karemera
Even though they had fled Rwanda years prior to its civil war, the far-reaching events of the war and genocide still had deep impacts on Paul Karemera and his family. Paul tells the story of his family in Rwanda and Uganda, the history of Rwandan conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi people, and the events of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Paul’s grandparents on both sides of his family left their homes in Rwanda in 1959 and became refugees in neighboring Uganda. They belonged to the Tutsi tribe – the group targeted in the Rwandan genocide. As a young student, Paul was harassed and bullied as an outsider in Uganda, despite having been born there. Shortly after the genocide, Paul went back to Rwanda as a “returnee” to the country. Many friends and family had not survived. Nationwide, the genocide’s wounds were still raw. Gacaca courts for restorative justice were instituted, but many Hutu perpetrators were never apprehended.
Paul is the newest member of the Holocaust Center’s Speakers Bureau and the first member who speaks about the Rwandan genocide.
Thanks to our community partners: Together We Remember Coalition, Pacific Lutheran University's Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program
April 20, 2021 | Experiences of Syrian Women: Revolution, War, and Uncertainty presented by Ahed Festuk and Hope Leone
Join the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA) to learn about the humanitarian crisis confronting the women of Syria in the 10th year of the brutal civil war. Learn about the situation on the ground, MFA’s relief efforts, and hear first-hand from Ahed Festuk, an activist from Aleppo, who was among the earliest protest organizers and relief workers—and now works to deliver desperately needed aid to her native country.
This program features:
Ahed Festuk, MFA’s Manager of Humanitarian Relief, an activist from Aleppo, Syria, and one of Syria's pioneer women demonstrators. In 2019, she joined the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees as Manager of Humanitarian Relief and is a prominent member of the Syrian Women's Political Movement.
Hope Leone, MFA’s Coordinator of Development & Cultivation who previously led a student organization called No Lost Generation, founded to support Syrian refugees by promoting awareness, organizing advocacy on Capitol Hill, fundraising, and creating educational resources for refugees.
Thank you to The Frances Roth & Stanley R. Schill Foundation for sponsoring this presentation
Thank you to community partners: Together We Remember Coalition, Pacific Lutheran University's Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program
April 13, 2021 | Love, Resilience, and Creativity during Genocide and Mass Atrocities Presented by Dr. Marie Berry
Over the past 15 years of studying genocide and mass atrocities, Marie Berry has interviewed more than 300 women who have survived unfathomable horrors in places like Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina. While many told stories of fear, loss, and pain, what sticks with her today is how so many women also described loving deeply, finding humor, building communities, and not only surviving, but even thriving during and after the violence.
In this talk, Dr. Berry will show how during periods of mass atrocity, human beings have long resisted through solidarity, art, non-violent direct action, and other creative strategies to reclaim their humanity together. These forms of everyday resistance are critical for us to understand to improve our ability to stop genocide and other mass atrocities going forward.
Marie Berry is an Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and the author of “War, Women, and Power” from Cambridge University Press (2018).
Thank you to The Frances Roth & Stanley R. Schill Foundation for sponsoring this presentation
Thank you to our community partners: Together We Remember Coalition, Pacific Lutheran University's Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program
April 8, 2021 | Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day
Remembering the 6 million Jewish people and the millions of Non-Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust
The program included:
Ingrid and Maud: A Holocaust Story of a Rescuer and the Rescued
Featuring special guests Ingrid Steppic and Maud Dahme. Ingrid and Maud met when they were young girls - one Jewish and seeking refuge from the Nazis, the other part of a family helping to hide Jewish people. Join us for a live conversation with these two women for Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Bring a candle and turn on your camera to join the community candle lighting ceremony. Followed by guest speaker Rabbi Tamar Malino of Spokane's Temple Beth Shalom.
Remembering as a Community
Let us know who you are remembering/honoring on this Day of Remembrance so that we can acknowledge them during the program. You will have the option of including a name (or names) when you register for the event.
Thanks to community partners: Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, Herzl-Ner Tamid, Temple Beth Shalom Spokane, Stroum Jewish Community Center, JConnect Seattle, Seattle Central College, North Seattle College, North Seattle College Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, South Seattle College, Temple B'Nai Torah, Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Jewish Family Services, Anti-Defamation League Pacific Northwest, Together We Remember Coalition, Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation
America and the Holocaust series: Part Three of Three
March 30, 2021 | Liberated, But Not Free: Jewish Holocaust Survivors and American Forces in Postwar Germany Presented by Dr. Kierra Crago-Schneider
The United States is often argued to have been a strong friend of the She’erith Hapletah, or surviving remnant of European Jewry living in postwar Displaced Persons camps in Germany. But a closer examination of relations between members of these two parties illustrate a much
more nuanced, and on occasion contentious, series of interactions—ranging from aid and support to outright antisemitism and hostility. These ever-changing relations were often influenced by external world events and political shifts, which affected the status of Jewish Displaced Persons within American-controlled centers.n>
Dr. Kierra Crago-Schneider is the Campus Outreach Program Officer in the National Academic Programs Division of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her current manuscript, From Barter to Black Market: The Re-Criminalization of the Jews in Germany, focuses on Jewish Displaced Persons’ interactions with their non-Jewish neighbors, international care-givers, and American troops in the American zone of occupied Germany from 1945-1957.
(photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park)
Thank you to our community partners on this week's program: Amnesty International Group 4
America and the Holocaust series: Part Two of Three
March 23, 2021 | Varian Fry's Moment of Glory
American journalist Varian Fry’s experiences covering Germany under Hitler’s rule provoked him into action, creating the Emergency Rescue Committee, a private America relief organization, with the goal of rescuing endangered intellectuals in France. Author Sheila Isenberg uses Fry’s own words and the testimony of refugees and compatriots to vividly paint the tense atmosphere of wartime Marseille, where desperate refugees found precarious asylum.
Isenberg describes the inventive measures Fry took to save more than 2,000 people, far more than the 200 intellectuals, scientists, writers, and artists he had originally been assigned to aid. Convening a network of people to assist him, Fry was able to arrange escapes from internment camps, forge documents, and bribe officials to spirit away to safety people threatened by the Nazis. In 1994, his efforts were recognized as he became the first American to be honored by Yad Vashem as "Righteous Among the Nations."
Isenberg is the author of several books including A Hero of Our Own: The Story of Varian Fry (click here for ebook); Muriel’s War: An American Heiress in the Nazi Resistance; and Women Who Love Men Who Kill.
Thank you to our community partners on this week's program: Pacific Lutheran University, UW Communication Department
America and the Holocaust series: Part One of Three
March 16, 2021 | Burying the Holocaust in the Pages of The
New York Times
During World War II, The New York Times published over 1,800 detailed, timely stories about what was happening to Europe's Jews, almost all of which appeared inside the newspaper. Northeastern University Journalism Professor Laurel Leff will discuss why The Times decided to bury the story of the murder of Europe's Jews and how that fateful decision affected contemporary understandings of the cataclysmic event.
Laurel Leff is Professor of Journalism and Associate Director of Jewish Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.
Thank you to community partners: Common Good Foundation, UW Communication
March 9, 2021 | CLE & Public Program | The Crime of Complicity:
Law and the Bystander from the Holocaust to Today
12:00 to 1:00 pm PT | Open to all
1 Washington State Bar CLE Credit | Flyer
Speaker Amos N. Guiora, Professor of Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah
Join the Holocaust Center for Humanity and legal professionals from around Washington for a special legal CLE program and Lunch-and-Learn on Tuesday, March 9 on the Crime of Complicity: Law and the Bystander from the Holocaust to Today with Professor Amos N. Guiora.
In addressing the bystander from the perspective of a crime of omission, one of the most important questions is whether we are examining a legal or ethical dilemma. Professor Amos Guiora proposes that the most appropriate lens is that of a strict legal examination. Others suggest this is an ethical dilemma rather than a legal dilemma. In his lecture, Professor Guiora will address this conflict by presenting the competing tensions between law and ethics.
Professor Guiora has an A.B. in history from Kenyon College, a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and a Ph.D from Leiden University. He has published extensively both in the United States and Europe on issues related to national security, limits of interrogation, religion and terrorism, the limits of power, multiculturalism, and human rights.
For Legal Professionals:
Thank you to our event sponsor: HomeStreet Bank
Thanks to our community partners: Washington State Bar Association's Civil Rights Law Section and World Peace Through Law Section, Common Good Foundation, Karr Tuttle Campbell, ACLU Washington, Perkins Coie
March 2, 2021| A Global Journey to Safety with Holocaust
Survivor Henry Haas
Henry Haas’ story of survival echoes that of thousands of Jewish families trying to escape from Nazi-occupied territories. With few options, the Haas family’s arduous journey out of Berlin lasted a year, leading a nomadic existence until finally escaping to Shanghai, China—the only port that would accept them.
A city of 6 million at that time, the Haas family arrived in Shanghai without funds, in a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and encountered an entirely foreign culture and now under Japanese occupation.
Two years after the end of WWII, the family arrived as non-English speaking refugees in San Francisco. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), helped the Haas family come to America, where they finally settled in Tacoma, Washington.
Henry’s wife, Kate, has documented the Haas family story in great detail. Together, Henry and Kate, with the use of photos, maps, and historic family documents, tell the story. Henry and his late mother Gerda, who lived to age 98, told this story for many years to school classes and other groups in the Tacoma area. Henry is part of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s Speakers Bureau to further share his memoir of antisemitism during the Holocaust.
Thank you to our community partners on this week's program: Temple Beth El (Tacoma)
February 23, 2021 | In My Hands: Rescuer Irene Gut Opdyke
presented by Jeannie Opdyke Smith
>Jeannie Opdyke Smith shares her mother's incredible journey of courage and resilience. A true story of how one Polish Catholic teenager saved over a dozen Jews during the Holocaust. Irene received international recognition for her actions during the Holocaust while working for a high-ranking German official.
Irene's story became a Broadway play in the nationally acclaimed production "Irena's Vow" and her memoir, "In My Hands" is used in classrooms across the country. The Israeli Holocaust Commission named Irene one of the Righteous Among the Nations. She was presented with the Israel Medal of Honor at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
Jeannie is a recipient of the 2015 Civil Rights award given by the Anti-Defamation League. She resides in Washington state with her husband, Gary, and is the mother of three, a foster parent, a grandmother of five, and surrogate mother to dozens more. Jeannie travels sharing her mother's story with groups across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. The story she shares speaks to the horrors and hate of the Holocaust—but also brings a message of faith, love, and hope, that good can triumph over evil. It proclaims the conviction that one by one, we can say no to hatred, persecution, and prejudice.
February 16, 2021 | Among the Remnants: Holocaust Survivor Josh Gortler
When 3-year-old Joshua Gortler and his family were forced from their hometown in Poland during World War II, they scrambled for safety border over the border, finding refuge at last in Europe's Displaced Persons Camps.
Undocumented and unschooled, Gortler spent his adolescence learning to survive. When his family eventually relocated to the U.S., Gortler found himself starting over as a teenager in a foreign land with only his spunk and sharp wits to rely on.
After earning a Master's degree in social work, Josh moved to Seattle and worked at the Kline Galland Jewish nursing home for almost 50 years. He began telling his story when his grandchildren asked what happened to him during the Holocaust, and he is now an active member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau and Board of Directors.
Josh Gortler's memoir, Among the Remnants, was published in January 2020.
Thank you to our community partners on this week's program: Kline Galland, The Summit at First Hill, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, Chabad of Downtown Seattle, Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation, the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Seattle, Polish Home Association
February 9, 2021 | From Genocide to Emergence in Our Homeland:
An Introduction to Coast Salish History by Children of the Setting Sun
With Darrell Hillaire, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Children of the Setting Sun Productions. Follow in the journey of the Coast Salish people from European contact, through their experiences with disease, boarding schools, forced relocation, Christianity, and into today’s times where we begin to see an emergence of culture and language in tribal communities.
Darrell Hillaire is a member of Lummi Nation, great-grandson of Frank Hillaire, who, in 1920, formed the Children of the Setting Sun Song and Dance Group. From Darrell: "Our traditional Lummi song and dance group included several of his grandchildren, and was formed as a response to rapid colonial settlement which included making illegal the traditional Coast Salish cultural practices including song, dance, language, and gatherings such as the potlatch.
"Prior to his passing, Frank Hillaire instructed his grandchildren and future descendants to, 'Keep My Fires Burning.' I have endeavored to follow his instructions throughout my lifetime, from serving as Chairperson and Treasurer of Lummi Indian Business Council for many years (15), to providing a home for our children by building and running the Lummi Youth Academy for 13 years, and more recently, as Executive Director and Co-Founder of Children of the Setting Sun Productions (CSSP). CSSP is a Native owned and operated 501C3, located in Bellingham, Washington within 5 miles of the Lummi Nation. I lead the projects based upon lifetime relationships with many elders and spiritual leaders within the Coast Salish Territory and have grown close to many of the elders through the development of Children of the Setting Sun Production content." Photo by Hailey Hoffman.
Thank you to our partners on this week's program: The Duwamish Tribe, Eighth Generation, National Urban Indian Family Coalition, Potlatch Fund
February 2, 2021 | "Who Was Chief Seattle?" with author David Buerge
Chief Seattle wrote nothing down during his life, yet his words—both real and imagined—are known throughout the world. The result is a man-made up of both historical and fictional aspects, from which conflicting messages can be gleaned.
David Buerge, a historian, teacher, and writer, has been researching the pre- and early history of the City of Seattle since the mid-1970s. He has published fourteen books of history and biography. Buerge’s latest book, published by our partner
Sasquatch Books, is Chief Seattle and the Town that Took His Name," the first biography of Chief Seattle intended for adults.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Humanities Washington, The Duwamish Tribe,
Eighth Generation, National Urban Indian Family Coalition, Potlatch Foundation, UW American Indian Studies program
January 19, 2021 | Holocaust Survivor Charlotte Wollheim
Born in Germany, Charlotte Wollheim remembers a happy childhood. All of this began to change when the Nazi party came to power in 1933. As Jewish people's lives became increasingly threatened, her parents sent Charlotte and her sister to the Esslingen Jewish Orphanage while they tried to find a way out of Germany. Not even 10 years old, it was a frightening experience. Charlotte's family made it to the United States, but not before her father was arrested multiple times, her grandfather's home was vandalized, and their lives were endangered.
In 1988, Charlotte teamed up with Holocaust survivor Vladka Meed to organize summer trips to Poland for teachers to learn about the Holocaust. These trips became a turning point for hundreds of educators in their understanding and commitment to Holocaust education. Charlotte is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau. Photo by Stefanie Felix.
Thank you to our community partner on this program: Goethe Pop Up Seattle | Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers' Program
January 12, 2021 | The Power of Personal Stories: UW Students Grapple with Stories of Survival and Loss
When students signed up for Professor Rawan Arar's "Genocide and Law" class at the UW, they quickly learned that this class was going to tackle more than text - it was going to challenge their emotions and their human understanding. The situations they would be studying were not just events, but were real people's lives. Working with the Holocaust Center for Humanity, students were assigned to interview survivors of genocide and their descendants. In this special program, students will join with the survivors to provide a candid view of interviewing, being interviewed, and the lessons learned.
Image: Art by UW student Paulina Andrews who took Professor Arar's class in the spring of 2020. Paulina's drawing is inspired by a survivor of the Cambodian genocide.
Thank you to our community sponsor on this program: UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies
January 5, 2021 | Three Roads - How One Family Embodied The Sweep of 20th Century Jewish History
Seattle author David Laskin draws on his award-winning book The Family to recount the story of the three branches of his mother's Russian-Jewish family: one branch immigrated to the United States and went into business, founding the fabulous Maidenform Bra Company; one branch journeyed to Palestine and made the desert bloom as idealistic Zionist pioneers; the third branch remained behind and perished in the Holocaust. Laskin illustrates the talk with vivid slides not only of his relatives but of the historic events they experienced.
Born in Brooklyn, David Laskin grew up on Long Island hearing stories of struggle and survival told by his Russian-Jewish immigrant grandparents. Settling in Seattle with his wife and three daughters in 1993, Laskin has won wide acclaim for his journalism and his narrative nonfiction books recounting the lives of ordinary people caught up in the great movements of history. Four of his recent books, including The Family, have won the Washington State Books Award. Laskin's first novel, What Sammy Knew, will be published by Penguin in March, 2021.
December 15, 2020 | The S.S. Officer's Armchair: Uncovering the Hidden Life Of A Nazi | With author Daniel Lee, in conversation with journalist Knute Berger
During a dinner party in Florence a few years ago, Daniel Lee was told a very strange story; a guest recounted how her mother had recently taken an armchair to an upholsterer in Amsterdam. While repairing the chair, the upholsterer found a bundle of swastika-covered documents inside the chair’s cushion. The papers belonged to Dr. Robert Griesinger, a lawyer from Stuttgart, who joined the S.S. and worked at the Reich’s Ministry of Economics and Labour in Occupied Prague during the war. An expert in the history of the Holocaust, Lee was fascinated to know what part Griesinger had played in the Third Reich and how his most precious documents ended up hidden inside a chair, hundreds of miles from Prague and Stuttgart. The SS Officer's Armchair is a detective story and a reconsideration of daily life in the Third Reich.
Daniel Lee is a senior lecturer in modern history at Queen Mary, University of London. A specialist in the history of Jews in France and North Africa during the Second World War, he completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford, and is also the author of Pétain's Jewish Children. As a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker, Lee is a regular broadcaster on radio. He lives in north London.
Knute Berger's journalism has exposed much of the Northwest's local history and has been featured in numerous publications. He is currently the editor at large for Crosscut, and has previously served as editor for Seattle Weekly and Seattle Magazine. He is the host of Mossback’s Northwest on KCTS and PBS which features dozens of short 5 minute videos uncovering facts about our local infrastructure, culture, and history.
Thank you to our community partners on this week's program: Seattle U History Department | UW History Department | Evergreen College Alumni Association
December 8, 2020 | Hidden in Hungary: The Survival Story of Agi Day
“My mother, my sister, my grandmother were hidden in a convent, dressed as nuns... I was too young to be in the convent, so I was hidden with a Catholic family, a couple [with] no children. They pretended I was a cousin from the countryside." - Agi Day
Agi Day was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia on May 13, 1940. When the Nazis invaded that country in 1941, she and her family fled, walking 196 miles to Budapest, Hungary. Agi’s mother convinced a local priest to hide Agi, age 4, her sister, age 16, herself and her mother in the priest’s apartment. Later, her family was hidden in a convent, but Agi, too young for the convent, was sent to live with two different Catholic families who passed her off as their cousin from the countryside. Agi was not reunited with her family until after liberation, May 1, 1945. With no home to return to, Agi, her mother, and sister, resided in a Displaced Persons Camp in Bad Gastein, Austria. Agi immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1951 and later to the Seattle area. Agi is a member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Austrian Honorary Consulate | Hungarian American Assoc. of Washington | Honorary Consulate of Austria in Seattle | Alliance Francaise de Seattle
December 1, 2020 | Building Bridges: Latinx Representation in a Holocaust Museum
With Dr. Michelle Tovar, Associate Director of Education-Latino Initiatives at Holocaust Museum Houston. For many communities, a Holocaust museum represents a rare space to discuss hatred, prejudice, and apathy openly. In the last few years, Holocaust Museum Houston has created an opportunity to amplify diverse voices and narratives that are not commonly recognized. In this presentation, Dr. Michelle Tovar will discuss the significance of Latinx representation in Holocaust museums and how the work she has done has helped shape programming, exhibits, and cross-cultural engagement.
Dr. Michelle Tovar is responsible for building bridges between the Latino community and the Holocaust Museum Houston. Her initiatives include outreach to bilingual/dual language school programs; creating educational workshops and events for teachers, parents, and community leaders; and working with local and national organizations dedicated to serving Latinos. Michelle earned her EdD at the University of Houston in Curriculum and Instruction in K-12 Social Education with an emphasis on Social Justice Education. She was a Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Fellow and a 2017 and 2019 Fulbright-Hays Scholar.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Holocaust Museum Houston | Latino Initiatives - Holocaust Museum Houston | CIELO | Seattle Latino Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
November 24, 2020 | Resilience and Strength: My Mother's Survival from Auschwitz
Daughter of Dutch survivor of Auschwitz, Ine-Marie van Dam shares her mother's story. Ada van Esso was born in Holland to a Jewish family. After World War II began, Ada’s father planned for the family to escape Holland. He bribed officials who were to assist them in their escape, but the family was betrayed. They were sent to a prison in Berlin, and then deported to Auschwitz in 1943. Ada left Auschwitz in 1945 on a death march. She was liberated at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and taken to Sweden to recover.
After the war, Ada returned to Holland and married Hans van Dam. Ine-Marie van Dam was born in Holland several years after, and grew up on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. Ine and her family moved to the Pacific Northwest at age 9.
In 2019, Ine began presenting the story of her mother’s Holocaust survival as a Legacy Speaker with the Holocaust Center for Humanity. Ada lives in Seattle in an assisted living facility. Ine visits her often from her home in Centralia, WA, and still speaks to her mother in Dutch. Photo: Ine-Marie van Dam with her mother Ada.
Thank you to our community partner on this program: The Washington State Jewish Historical Society.
November 17, 2020 | Technology, the Holocaust, and Human Rights
With Professor Clyde Ford, author of Think Black. THINK BLACK (HarperCollins, Sept. 2019), began as a memoir about Clyde Ford's father, John Stanley Ford, the first Black software engineer in America. But it soon became something much more, after his editor asked him to investigate his father’s relationship with Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM.
Clyde Ford went in search of an answer. Ford was shocked, and deeply disturbed, to uncover IBM’s central role in eugenics, the Holocaust, apartheid, and racial profiling through facial recognition. What began as a story about his father, soon enlarged into a cautionary tale about the dark side of high technology and recommendation about what must change.
Clyde W. Ford is an award-winning author of 12 works of fiction and non-fiction. He’s also a psychotherapist, mythologist, and sought-after public speaker. Clyde’s the recipient of the 2006 Zora Neale Hurston-Richard Wright Award in African American Literature. He’s been a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, National Public Radio, and numerous television and radio programs. Clyde lives in Bellingham, Washington.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Black Heritage Society Washington State | Langston Huges Performing Arts Center | NAACP Seattle, King County | Queen Anne Book Company
November 10, 2020 | Finding Refuge in Shanghai: Holocaust Survivor Joe Lewinsohn
Joe Lewinsohn was born in Berlinchen, Germany on May 16, 1937. On Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), the family’s store was vandalized. His father Edwin and 10,000 other Jewish men were arrested and spent weeks in Buchenwald, a German concentration camp. In 1939, scared for their lives, the Lewinsohns fled Germany for Shanghai, their only option. For six years, Joe’s family shared a room with three other refugee families in the decrepit Shanghai ghetto. When the war ended, they went to Chile to live alongside over 10,000 Jews who had spent the wartime years there.
In 1949, Joe and his family came to Seattle. Joe graduated from Garfield High School and joined the Army. Upon his discharge, he attended the University of Washington and began a teaching career in the Seattle School District. Since 2017, Joe has been a member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau. Watch Video Recording
Thank you to our community partner on this week's program: Moishe House Seattle
November 3, 2020 | Hana Kern: The Legacy of Theresienstadt
Hana Kern, the daughter of Theresienstadt survivor Tom Lenda, shares her father's experiences. Tom Lenda was one of the very few Jewish children to survive the camp Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia.
Three years after the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939, Tom and his family were ordered to take one suitcase each and report to Exhibition Hall in Prague where over 1,000 Jewish people had been rounded up by Nazi authorities. From there they were taken by train to Terezin (Theresienstadt), a concentration camp 40 miles north of Prague. The family was separated after their arrival at Terezin and, contrary to Nazi propaganda attempting to show that this was a desirable Jewish settlement, they endured severe overcrowding, rats, straw beds, poverty and illness, as well as the deportations of so many to Auschwitz. Tom was part of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau for many years. His daughter Hana Kern now shares his story. Watch Video Recording
Thank you to our community partners on this week's program: Center for Czech Education and Culture | Women Business Owners
October 27, 2020 | What It Means To Be "News-Literate"
With John Silva, News Literacy Project. John Silva will provide an overview of essential news literacy skills to stay reliably informed. He will discuss the difficulty in, and importance of recognizing news vs. opinion, how to identify misinformation and evaluate evidence, and how to discern various types and forms of bias. John Silva is the Sr. Director of Education, Training, for the News Literacy Project. Watch Video Recording
Thank you to our community partners on this program: The Foundation for International Understanding Through Students | Leage of Education Voters
America and the Holocaust: 3-Part Lunch-and-Learn Series
October 6, 13, 20 | Co-Sponsored by the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program and the Kurt Mayer Chair of Holocaust Studies at Pacific Lutheran University | Flyer (pdf)
Thank you to our generous supporter: The Powell Family Foundation
October 6 | Hell Before Their Very Eyes: American Soldiers Liberate Concentration Camps in Germany
With Dr. John McManus, Military Historian, who sheds new light on a relatively overlooked aspect of the Holocaust, namely the experiences of American soldiers who liberated or witnessed concentration camps. Drawing on the rich blend of archival sources and first hand accounts, including unit journals, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, diaries, letters, and published recollections that provided the foundation for his book "Hell Before Their Very Eyes," he will discuss the realities of the liberation of Ohrdruf, Buchenwald and Dachau. In case you missed it - Watch Video Recording
October 13 | Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe
With Dr. Rebecca Erbelding, Historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and author of Rescue Board. America has long been criticized for refusing to give harbor to the Jews during World War II as Hitler and the Nazis closed in. Yet few know the extraordinary unknown story of the War Refugee Board, a US government effort late in the war to save the remaining European Jews. In January 1944, facing mounting public pressure and pressure within his administration to do more to aid European Jews, President Franklin Roosevelt agreed to create a new government agency, the War Refugee Board, empowering it to rescue the victims of Nazi persecution. Over the next twenty months, John Pehle, the young Treasury Department lawyer tasked with heading this operation, pulled together D.C. pencil pushers, international relief workers, smugglers, diplomats, millionaires, and rabble-rousers to run operations across four continents and a dozen countries. They tricked Nazis, forged identity papers, maneuvered food and medicine into concentration camps, recruited spies, leaked news stories, laundered money, negotiated ransoms, and funneled millions of dollars into Europe. This is the story of how the United States War Refugee Board saved tens of thousands of lives. In case you missed it - Watch Video Recording
October 20 | Atrocity Pictures: Antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the Hollywood Studio System Before 1948
With Dr. Steven Carr, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and author of Hollywood & Anti-Semitism. Much of the discussion about Hollywood and anti-Semitism has assumed anti-Semitism came out of Hollywood. Less attention has considered antisemitism directed toward Hollywood. With both increasing political instability and the resurgence of organized hate groups in the U.S., anti-Semitic allegations of Jewish control over the media today remain poised to regain mainstream traction. This informal Q&A will discuss how anti-Semitic allegations of Jewish control over Hollywood helped shape popular depictions of Nazism and the Holocaust in mainstream Hollywood film. With the memory of World War I still fresh in the minds of many Americans, along with a growing isolationist alliance against President Roosevelt, the Hollywood studio system throughout the 1930s and 40s found itself caught between intensifying public opinion accusing the industry of either not doing enough to combat Nazism, or accusing it of pushing the country into war to serve Jewish interests. Watch Video Recording
Thank you to our community partners for supporting the America and the Holocaust series:
September 29, 2020 | Practice Radical Empathy: Storytelling to Build an Equitable World
Join Luis Ortega, founder and director of Storytellers for Change, as he delivers an engaging and empowering message about the power of storytelling and story-listening to foster radical empathy, promote dialogue, and to build an inclusive and equitable world. In this virtual presentation, Luis will invite the audience to explore the role of connection, empathy, and belonging in communities. How do we co-create spaces for connection? How can we expand our empathetic capacity? What does belonging mean to you? A key part of the answer to these questions is stories. After all, what brings us closer to each other is knowing our individual and collective narratives. When a community or society has the ability to know, see, and hear the stories of everyone, we can expand our "circle of human concern" and close empathy gaps.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center | Unexpected Productions Improv
September 15, 2020 | How the Holocaust Shaped Senator Scoop Jackson’s Human Rights Work
Speakers Anna Marie Laurence and Craig Gannett. As a U.S. Senator from Washington State, Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson was a strong advocate for human rights and religious freedom. In the 1970s, he pressured the Soviet Union to allow the emigration of Jews, many of whom were being persecuted. His commitment to human rights can be traced back to 1945, when he entered Buchenwald just three days after the death camp was liberated. Scoop’s daughter, Anna Marie Laurence, will share photos of items he received at the camp, and the President of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Craig Gannett, will explain how the unspeakable horrors he saw there led him to champion the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which in turn led to the Magnitsky Act of 2012 and the Global Magnitsky act of 2016, allowing the U.S. government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: The Jackson Foundation | Historic Seattle | Washington State Historical Society | Henry M. Jackson High School
Thank you to 4Culture King County for grant funding in support of the acquisition of artifacts, including these from Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson.
September 8, 2020 | A Childhood in Nazi Germany: Barbara Sachs D'Asaro
Andrea and Joanna D’Asaro and their mother Barbara Sachs D’Asaro tell the story of Barbara’s childhood in Nazi Germany, and her escape as a young girl. Barbara was born Bärbel Sachs near Rostock, Germany on August 18, 1927. She was adopted by a Jewish couple, Erich and Johanna Sachs, who lived in Berlin. Barbara’s parents bribed officials to destroy documents about her adoption, which noted that a non-Jewish child had been adopted into a Jewish family. Join us for this incredible and unique story of determination, luck, and love. Barbara, Joanna, and Andrea are part of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Seattle Genealogical Society | Cornell Club of Western Washington
September 2, 2020 | Law as an Instrument of Mass Crimes? The Legal System Under the Third Reich
Speaker: Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought, Amherst College. Join the Holocaust Center for Humanity, and legal professionals from around Washington state, for a special virtual Lawyers CLE program with Professor Lawrence Douglas on Law as an instrument of Mass Crimes and the Legal System Under the Third Reich. Hitler’s Germany disturbingly demonstrated how a legal system can become an instrument of state sponsored mass atrocities.
This talk will examine questions such as: How did the Nazi state succeed in perverting the German legal system? What role did prominent lawyers and judges play in resisting or assisting the perversion? Are there limits to which law can be perverted before it ceases to function as law? What lessons can we apply from the German case to challenges facing lawyers today?
Thank you to our event partners: Perkins Coie | Karr Tuttle Campbell | Cardozo Society of Washington State | The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
It is not too late to receive 1 Ethics Credit. If you missed this legal program on September 2, 2020 and you are an attorney seeking ethics credit, it is not too late to participate. To watch this program for 1 Ethics credit, please register here.
August 25, 2020 | Let It Not Happen Again: Lessons of the Japanese American Exclusion
With speaker Clarence Moriwaki. In March of 1942, 227 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes on Bainbridge Island by the US Army. Starting with this small community, a national strategy began, with more than 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children forcibly removed and incarcerated during World War II.
Clarence Moriwaki shares the story of Bainbridge Island—the origin point of the Japanese American exclusion—to provide a human, historical account of this national tragedy, and to ask the question: Are there parallels to what’s happening in America now?
Moriwaki is the president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community and a founder and former president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association. Moriwaki has written guest editorials on the subject that have been published nationwide. Moriwaki has served as a spokesperson for administrations including the Clinton Administration, the Office of the Governor, and Congressman Jay Inslee. Moriwaki lives on Bainbridge Island and is a member of Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Humanities Washington | The Consulate General of Japan in Seattle | JACL | Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington | Keiro Northwest.
August 18, 2020 | The Yellow Star House: The Remarkable Story of One Boy's Survival in a Protected House in Hungary
With author Paul Regelbrugge. Paul Regelbrugge, a teacher in Spokane, WA at the time, asked survivor Robert Holczer to come and speak to his 6th grade class. His students were enthralled by the unique story of Robert and the motivations of his rescuer. Paul and Robert became friends over the last decade of Robert's life and Paul became one of the few people trusted to record Robert's story. From these stories and interviews comes Paul's first book, and one of the first books on this incredible story of the rescue of 400 Jews in the middle of Budapest, Hungary: The Yellow Star House. The Yellow Star House can be purchased from our community partner, Queen Anne Book Company!
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Queen Anne Book Company | Honorary Consulate of Hungary in Seattle | Seattle Public Schools Library Services
August 11, 2020 | Genocide Today: The Uyghurs in China
With speaker Ellen Kennedy, Ph.D, World Without Genocide. The Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim minority in western China, are being persecuted by the Chinese government with practices that governments, human rights leaders, and experts are labeling as ‘genocide.’ These actions include the use of sophisticated artificial intelligence to round up and incarcerate more than a million Uyghurs in concentration-camp-like facilities; forced sterilization of women; harvesting of body organs; mass disappearances; and the destruction of Uyghur language, culture, practice, and community. Learn about the economic and political reasons at the heart of the crisis and efforts to hold the government of China accountable for perpetrating genocide against this vulnerable Muslim minority population.
Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of World Without Genocide, located at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, MN. The organization provides education about past and current conflicts and advocacy at local, state, and national levels for policies and legislation that promote peace and justice. She has been an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law since 2011. Due to the sensitive political nature of the topic, a recording of this program is not available. Please visit World Without Genocide for more information on this topic.
Thank you to our program community partners: Jewish Family Services | Faith Action Network
August 4, 2020 | Peter Metzelaar: Surviving the Holocaust in Hiding
Peter Metzelaar, a native of the Netherlands, was just seven when his entire family was seized by the Nazis except for him and his mother, Elli. Pete then endured the Holocaust under various harrowing circumstances -- from time in hiding on the farm of a non-Jewish couple, to going to school posing as a Christian boy, to a daring escape on a Nazi truck with his mother dressed as a Red Cross nurse. Pete is a longtime member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity Speakers Bureau and resides in Seattle with his wife, Bea.
With Tom White, Keene State College | As the Nazis began to coordinate and crystalize their racist program in the early 1930s, they looked for legal precedence that could help shape their own work within the German legal system. They found this precedent in U.S. legislation and initiatives, such as racist-based immigration laws and disenfranchisement of minorities. The Nazis explored ways to legitimize their racial state by studying what worked and what did not work within U.S. race-based laws and practices. Utilizing American ideas not only helped the Nazis craft the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, it also helped them cement their power.
With us today is Tom White, Coordinator of Educational Outreach for the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College in New Hampshire to talk about the influence of racist policies in the United States on Nazi Germany. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO); has participated as observer and facilitator in the Global Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention at the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation; and in 2015 was named a Peace Ambassador by the Center for Peacebuilding from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tom was also just appointed to the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Holocaust and genocide education. Tom White's article, "The US and Racism" referenced in the program can be found here. Article includes bibliography of sources. Image: A Jewish woman sits on a bench marked "Only for Jews," Austria, 1938.
Thank our community partners for this program: The Black Heritage Society, The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University, and Pacific Lutheran University.
July 21, 2020 | Jessica Fenton: Granddaughter of Polish Holocaust Survivors
Jessica Fenton grew up in South Florida very close to her grandparents, Natalie and Murray Borenstein. Jessica knew that her grandparents and their friends and neighbors were Holocaust survivors. As an adult, Jessica dug deeper to learn of her grandparents' past. She collected documents, video, and photos of her grandparents' lives and shared them with the Holocaust Center for Humanity. Jessica Fenton officially joined the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau in 2020 to share the stories of her grandparents and to ensure that their legacies lived on.
July 14, 2020 | Overlooked: People with Mental Illness and Disabilities During the Holocaust | With Dr. Beth Griech-Polelle, Pacific Lutheran University
Among the programs the Nazi regime created was a secret project called "Aktion T-4" or the "Euthanasia Project" to rid themselves of the "unwanted" people. Not only did 70,000 adults and approximately 5,000 children die, but Hitler used these early mass killings as training for how he'd be able to efficiently and systematically commit genocide. Dr. Griech-Polelle is the Kurt Mayer Chair of Holocaust Studies at Pacific Lutheran University. The books mentioned in this presentation are Michael Burleigh's Death and Deliverance: "Euthanasia" in Germany c. 1900-45 and James Q. Whitman's Hitler's American Model.
July 7, 2020 | From Anne Frank's Amsterdam to Present-Day Seattle: An Arc Spanning Over Eighty Years | Laureen Nussbaum
Born in Germany in 1927, Laureen and her family left Nazi Germany for Amsterdam in 1936. In her new neighborhood, Laureen became friends with Margot and Anne Frank, although she was closer to Margot. After the Holocaust, Laureen remained close to Otto, Anne's father and the only surviving member of the Frank family. Laureen and her family were able to avoid deportation because they obtained paperwork claiming they were not Jewish. Laureen's book, Shedding our Stars: A Story of Hans Calmeyer and How He Saved Thousands of Families Like Mine was published in 2019. Laureen moved to the United States in 1955 and later became a professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at Portland State University. She has consulted on many scholarly works, written articles and continues to lecture on the Holocaust, Anne Frank, and her own experiences. More about Laureen Nussbaum.
Olympic Pride, American Prejudice tells the story of 18 African Americans who defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Deborah Riley Draper is an award-winning and critically acclaimed filmmaker, motivational speaker, and advertising agency veteran. She directed the 2016 documentary "Olympic Pride, American Prejudice" (available on Amazon Prime) and in February 2020 released her book that expands on the stories in the film.
Set against the turbulent backdrop of a segregated United States, sixteen black men and two black women are torn between boycotting the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany or participating. If they go, they would represent a country that considered them second-class citizens and would compete amid a strong undercurrent of Aryan superiority that considered them inferior. Yet, if they stayed, would they ever have to chance to prove them wrong on a global stage?
Thank you to our community partners for this week's program: The Northwest African American Museum | The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University | The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle | Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Jconnect Seattle | Temple B'nai Torah | Herzl-Ner Tamid | Temple Beth Am
June 23, 2020 | Barbara Adler West: Daughter of a Kindertransport Survivor
After her grandfather was arrested and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen in 1938, the family desperately looked for avenues to escape Germany. At only 9 years old, Barbara's father Steve was sent alone on the Kindertransport (children's transport) to England. Kindertransports were organized with British government sanction, giving refuge to approximately 10,000 mostly Jewish children from Nazi occupied countries. Barbara Adler West is an attorney, a mother, and recently started a non-profit organization to help folks in need with elder law. She is also the co-author, with her father Steve, of a 2017 book about families and aging, “When I Need Your Help I’ll Let You Know.” Barbara is very proud to share her father’s story as a Legacy Speaker in the Center’s Speakers Bureau.
Thank you to our Community Partner on this program Temple Beth Am.
June 16, 2020 | Race, Equity, and Holocaust Education
A conversation with three changemakers who are advocates of Holocaust education and who are working in Washington's school system to raise awareness of systemic racism and close the education and opportunity gap for students of color. |List of books and resources mentioned in this program
Panelists: Tanisha Brandon-Felder Ed.D, Director of Equity and Family Engagement, Shoreline School District | E-chieh Lin, Director of Diversity and Community and Director of Hiring, University Preparatory School | Angela Jones, CEO Washington STEM
June 9, 2020 | "Real Nazis of the Northwest - 1933-1941" with Knute Berger
Nazism in the Northwest is not a new phenomenon. You’ve heard of the heroic UW rowers called “the Boys in the Boat” who beat the Nazis at the Berlin Olympics. This talk will introduce you to another group Knute Berger calls the Fascists in the Forest. We will look at the pre-World War II era in Seattle and the major players in local and West Coast fascism, focusing on representatives of the Third Reich, their propaganda efforts here, and the activities of William Dudley Pelley who headquartered his 1936 presidential campaign in Washington State in his bid to become the “American Hitler.” The talk is based on a series of stories Knute Berger wrote while researching our region’s political past for Crosscut and for his KCTS9 video series, “Mossback’s Northwest.”
June 2, 2020 | Propaganda vs. News
We are bombarded with theories, opinions, and a rapidly changing news cycle. While we have exposure to more media now than ever, we are faced with many of the same challenges of previous generations - how to evaluate and think critically about the news and media we are consuming. What does it mean to be news-literate? John Silva, Director of Education at The News Literacy Project will share tips for being reliably informed. Holocaust Center for Humanity docents Marcy Bloom and Carl Shutoff will take a deep dive into a few examples of propaganda during the Holocaust that are part of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's collection.
While COVID-19’s impact continues on a global scale – economically, socially, politically, and existentially – it will be particularly felt in deeply divided, fragile, conflict-prone, or at-risk societies. In such societies, it is absolutely vital that policy measures be taken for preventive action before risk escalates to the point of mass atrocity. This presentation will review some of those pressure points related to governance, economic conditions, and social fragmentation. The pandemic, and its potential to serve as a trigger for mass violence, makes our shared work of atrocity prevention more urgent than ever.
Dr. James Waller is Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College (NH). He also serves as Director of Academic Programs for the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, a leading international NGO in the field. He is the author of six books, most notably Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Atrocity (Oxford University Press, 2007). His newest book, due out later this year from Oxford University Press, is A Troubled Sleep: Risk and Resilience in Contemporary Northern Ireland.
Thank you to our community partners for this week's program: The Henry M. Jackson Foundation | The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University | Washington State University History Department | Humanities Alliance at Everett Community College | Temple B'nai Torah | Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Temple Beth Shalom | Jconnect Seattle | Moishe House Seattle
May 19, 2020 | Michal Lotzkar: A Father's Siberian Exile
Michal Lotzkar, daughter of Polish Holocaust survivor Arieh Engelberg, who survived numerous labor camps before eventually finding refuge in Israel after the Holocaust, shares her family's story of survival, determination, and luck. Michal is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
May 12, 2020 | NAZI HUNTERS with author Neal Bascomb
In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis’ Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century’s most important trials, one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination. Author Neal Bascomb turns his investigative research into a captivating narrative in his award-winning books Hunting Eichmann and Nazi Hunters. Special thanks to our partner The Queen Anne Book Company for supporting this program.
May 5, 2020 | Clarice Wilsey: Letters from a Dachau Liberator
Clarice Wilsey, daughter of Army physician Captain David Wilsey, M.D. who was one of 27 doctors who entered Dachau concentration camp at liberation, shares her father's story. Clarice is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
April 28, 2020 | Betsy Touriel-Kapner: Rescue in Bolivia
Betsy Touriel-Kapner, the daughter of Austrian Holocaust survivors, tells the stories of her parents' escape from Austria to Bolivia. Betsy is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
April 21, 2020 | Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day
Special Memorial Program with Survivor George Elbaum and introduction by Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai and Dee Simon, the Baral Family Executive Director of the Holocaust Center for Humanity.
April 14, 2020 | Breeze Dahlberg: A Granddaughter's Story
Granddaughter of Hungarian Auschwitz survivor Vera Frank Federman, Breeze Dahlberg shares her grandmother's story. Breeze is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
April 7, 2020 | Naomi Newman: My Family's Resilience
The daughter of two survivors, Naomi Newman tells the stories of her parents from primary source documents and historical records. Naomi is a member is of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
March 31, 2020 | Arik Cohen: Grandson of Four Holocaust Survivors
Arik Cohen is the grandson of four Holocaust survivors, shares their incredible stories of survival and luck. Arik is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.