From Genocide to Emergence: Native American History in the Pacific Northwest - A Two-Part Program

Tuesday, January 26 - No program on this day. Instead, join us for a special event commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.


Who Was chief seattle 450x275 Who Was Chief Seattle?

Tuesday, February 2 | 12-1pm (PT)  

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With Author and Historian 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 M. Buerge, a biographer and a historian to the Duwamish Tribe, Seattle’s mother’s people, spent more than 20 years exploring the man from a variety of sources to reveal a leader of epic character. He was a warrior, an orator, a benefactor, and a visionary who helped found the city that bears his name, Seattle, the largest city in the world named after a Native American.

Chief Seattle’s vision was ambitious: a prosperous, multiracial city. But toward the end of Seattle’s life, he saw that vision become a tragedy. In the current century, is Seattle the city edging any closer to the vision of Seattle the man? Buerge explores this complex figure to uncover how one man’s story still shapes the identity of the city.

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, Chief Seattle and the Town that Took His Name, is the first biography of Chief Seattle intended for adults.

Thank you to our partners on this week's program:

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From Genocide to EmergenceFrom Genocide to Emergence in Our Homeland: An Introduction to Coast Salish History by Children of the Setting Sun

Tuesday, February 9 | 12pm-1pm (PT) 

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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:

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Among the Remnants: Holocaust SurvivorJosh Gortler 216 EDIT
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 least 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 and 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.


In My Hands: Rescuer Irene Gut OpdykeJeanie Opdyke Smith 2.23

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 int he 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 Honoe 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.



12:00 - 1:00pm (Pacific Time) Every Tuesday.  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. 

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed in these programs are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of the Holocaust Center for Humanity and its employees.   




Thank you to our 2021 Lunch-and-Learn Sponsors:

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The Frances Roth & Stanley R. Schill Foundation    


Thank you to the grantors, companies, and individuals who have made this year's Lunch-and-Learn series possible. If you or your company are interested in sponsoring one or more Lunch-and-Learns throughout the year, please contact Nicole Bela: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Choices Matter: Complicity and Action During the Holocaust

Thursday, January 21, 2021 | 3:30-5:30pm (PT) | 2 Clock Hours Available | Free

Presented by Melissa Mott, Echoes & Reflections

An examination of the range of choices and decisions made by individuals, communities and nations during the Holocaust is a powerful lens through which to study this period of history. This approach encourages deep critical thinking and analysis, and also serves as a catalyst to compel students to work toward making change in their own lives and the larger society. This learning opportunity examines the consequences of inaction and highlights the courage and difficult choices of those who rescued and resisted during the Holocaust. Educators will gain the tools to support students to implement an action-oriented project influenced by the lessons of this history, as well as how these lessons and more may be adapted to remote instruction.

Melissa Mott is the Deputy Project Director at Echoes & Reflections. A high school and college educator, Melissa taught English as a Teach For America Corps Member in Newark, NJ, while earning her M.F.A. in Writing from Rutgers University in 2015 and her Ed.M. in Comparative Education and Human Rights at Columbia University Teachers College in 2017. As a Fulbright Scholar in Poland, Melissa taught English at The University of Warsaw while researching genocide education and human rights.

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2021 IHRD Web event

 Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | 6:00pm PT | Zoom | Free


Join the Holocaust Center for Humanity for a special one of a kind virtual performance on Wednesday, January 27th at 6:00 pm PT to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Ted Rosenthal, composer and jazz pianist, will perform excerpts from his jazz opera, Dear Erich, with two Seattle area opera singers.

The event is free to attend, or, support the Center by becoming a Patron with a $180 donation. Your donation will support virtual programming for students, teachers, and the community in 2021. Patrons will be recognized on the event page and during the program.



 Special thanks to sponsors Eugene May and Patti Shuster.


About International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27 was designated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005. It marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Every year, the Holocaust Center for Humanity holds a community program to mark this day of remembrance.


Crime Complicity 450x275 2The Ethics of Complicity: The Bystander from the Holocaust to Today

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 | CLE & Public Program

12:00 to 1:00 pm PT | Open to all | Zoom

1 Washington State Bar CLE Credit Pending

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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 Ethics of Complicity: 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.

Thank you to our sponsor:

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Elie Wiesel cover imageElie Wiesel Writing & Visual Arts Competition

For middle and high school students across the United States. Sponsored by The Holocaust Commision of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.  Student winners receive cash prizes, and classroom teachers who submit a minimum number of student entries, regardless of awards, will receive a set of Holocaust-related books for their classrooms or a gift certificate for art supplies. Winners are honored and their entries are shared at the annual Yom Hashoah program in the spring.  Prize winners are selected by independent judges and are based on each year's competition prompts. 

Deadline for Writing and Multimedia: January 29, 2021 | Deadline for Visual Arts Entries: February 5, 2021

CLICK HERE for details, prompts, guidelines.


Using Children’s and YA Literature to teach the Holocaust

Date: January 18, 2021 | 10:00-11:30am | 2 PDUs available   
Offered by the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education  

Cost: FREE | Click here to register

With an abundance of literature to choose from, teaching about the Holocaust, and its lessons can be overwhelming. In Using Children’s and YA Literature to teach the Holocaust, Dr. Sarah Minslow will share a variety of books that are appropriate for teaching about this history in elementary school and suggestions for how to engage in meaningful conversations with students. After her presentation, educators will have the opportunity to discuss how they might bring this learning into their classroom during small group breakout rooms. The session will conclude with time for questions and answers in the full group. The session will assist teachers in addressing SB664 (Oregon’s Holocaust and Genocide K-12 education mandate). 

Dr. Sarah Minslow is an Assistant Professor of Children’s & Young Adult Literature at California State University, Los Angeles. She received her PhD in English with a specialization in Children’s and YA Literature from the University of Newcastle. She has been teaching children’s literature, media, and culture at the university level since 2008 and developed two courses after attending the USHMM’s Silberman Seminar in 2012: War & Genocide in Children’s Literature and Refugees in Literature & Film. She has worked with multiple educator groups across the country to develop a curriculum for Holocaust and genocide studies and human rights education using children’s literature. She is a member of the Teaching Brief Editorial Board for the International Association of Genocide Scholars and the Phoenix Picturebook Award committee for the Children’s Literature Association. Out soon is her co-edited book Denial: The Final Stage of Genocide?


Joshs Book Launch USE THIS ONE Book Launch - Among the Remnants: Holocaust Survivor Josh Gortler's Journey

Saturday, January 23, 2021 | 7:30pm (PT) | Join on Zoom

Josh was born in Tomaszow, Poland in 1936, where his family had lived for almost a century. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, his family was incarcerated in the Ghetto. They made their way to Siberia and Uzbekistan, where life was incredibly harsh but not as dangerous for Jews. After liberation, Josh and his family found refuge in a displaced persons (DP) camp in Berlin. The new book is available to preorder on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

"There’s a time to think, and there’s a time to talk. And I feel that now is the time to talk and retell these stories for the future generations to come. Because, if we don’t learn from the past, we will make the same mistakes in the future." - Josh Gortler

Read more about Josh Gorler HERE. Josh is a member of the Holocaust Center's speakers bureau. Event is sponsored by Minyan Ohr Chadash.


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Music of Remembrance Concert: Art from Ashes

January 24 - 31, 2021 | More Information & Purchase Tickets

Commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 76th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The program showcases works by murdered composers from across Nazi-controlled Europe. These concert works of stunning beauty by murdered composers from Holland to Hungary remind us of the potential that was lost to the world. The musical treasures remain as a testament to inspiring courage and resilience in a time of unfathomable horrors. They tell stories that resonate today as strongly as ever. 

Featuring MOR’s stellar instrumental ensemble drawn from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.


1938Projekt: Developing Holocaust Curriculum In A Challenging Environment

Sunday, January 24, 2021 | 11am - 12:30pm PT/ 2pm - 3:30pm EST | Leo Baeck Institute 

During two professional workshops in early 2020, educators from the New York City public school system explored LBI's online 1938Projekt under the guidance of educational consultants Rebecca Krucoff & Natalie Milbrodt, as well as Dr. Magdalena M. Wrobel, LBI’s Project Manager, and Renate Evers, LBI’s Director of Collections. The lesson plan project was sponsored by the METRO New York Library Council as part of their pilot project “User Engagement with Digital Collections.” 

The goal of this project was to engage students in grades 6-12 with LBI’s online 1938Projekt: Posts from the Past as part of a broader mission to expand the use of digital archives and digital source material in schools. The project wanted to introduce teachers to specific educational methodologies that utilize digital archival material and digital settings. The project at the Leo Baeck Institute also aimed at maintaining the memory and importance of the Holocaust in the constantly changing world for both Jewish and non-Jewish students. As the time since WWII increases, more and more young people do no longer have direct contact with the generation who experienced anti-Semitism in Europe before WWII and survived the Holocaust. This reduces the Holocaust to a dramatic but far removed event in history for Jews, and even a lesser known episode in history for non-Jews.

Today right-wing populism gains new followers around the world, and includes an increase in racism and anti-Semitism in both the United States and the world. The Covid-19 pandemic presents further obstacles in how to educate. In the face of these challenges, how does one teach the Holocaust in a way meaningful to students, especially when this teaching now must be handled largely in a digital environment?

Please join us as we discuss the changing landscape of Holocaust education in the face of these challenges, and explore the 1938Projekt lesson modules as one tool that can provide relevance to students. Among other points, we will talk about ways that the lessons of the Holocaust can be made relevant for today’s students.

CLICK HERE for details and to register


Become a Holocaust Educator - Fish Center at Yeshiva University

The Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Yeshiva University strives to build a cadre of teachers, professional and lay leaders across the United States who are committed to Holocaust education and remembrance, ready to meet the challenges that the field is facing as survivors of the Holocaust are passing away and awareness of the subject in public memory. Through courses, lectures, research and more, the Fish Center is dedicated to the study of the Holocaust from a perspective steeped in history, culture, religion, and spiritual life of the Jewish civilization annhilated by the Nazis and their collaborators. Choose from virtual classes and earn credit. Apply for scholarships.  Learn more at