Join us for our weekly Lunch-and-Learn series to hear children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, notable speakers on timely issues, and historical experts.
These programs aim to present perspectives and voices that challenge and inspire people to confront bigotry, racism, and indifference, and to consider how their actions make a difference.
Past Lunch-and-Learn Programs
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.
In My Hands: Rescuer Irene Gut Opdyke presented by Jeannie Opdyke Smith
Tuesday, February 23 | 12-1pm (PT)
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.
Among the Remnants: Holocaust Survivor Josh Gortler | Tuesday, February 16 | 12-1pm (PT)
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 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 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
Tuesday, February 9 | 12pm-1pm (PT) | 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 Generationan, 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.