Community Religion

LI Conference to Honor Holocaust Survivors, Victims, Liberators, June 8

The Long Island Holocaust and Memorial Tolerance Center (HMTC) and Hofstra University will honor Holocaust survivors, victims and their liberators at a conference that is expected to the be the largest of its kind in New York state. Generations, co-sponsored by Hofstra University, will be held Sunday, June 8, at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse and Breslin Hall from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the South Campus.

The conference is open to the public, and the itinerary features concurrent speakers, workshops, discussions, and film screenings that have been designed to appeal to a wide audience. Participants are a multigenerational, international representation of Jewish and non-Jewish Holocaust survivors, WWII liberators, rescuers, as well as second and third generations of all these groups.

Pre-registration is required for all attendees. There is no fee for survivors, liberators, and members of the Hofstra community upon presentation of a current HofstraCard. Paid registration is $36 for adults and $10 for kids under 18, and the fee includes valet parking, lunch, snacks, and workshops. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. To register and for more info: www.hmtcli.org. The public may also contact Judy Vladimir of the HMTC at 516-571-8040 or judyvladimir@holocaust-nassau.org.

The conference is being promoted nationally by 105 organizations including national and international Holocaust centers and museums, military and veterans’ organizations, Roma and Sinti associations, GLBT organizations and others.

Featured speakers are: Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, the son of an officer in Nazi Germany’s Army, and a convert to Judaism; Major General Sidney Shachnow (ret. U.S. Special Forces), the only Holocaust survivor to reach the rank of General in the U.S. military; and H.E. Ferit Hoxha, Albanian Ambassador to the United Nations and Holocaust scholar. (Albania rescued 100% of its Jewish population and over 2,000 Jews from nearby regions.)

The conference will open with the Joint Service Color Guard of the United States Special Operations Command and the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division Band at 10 a.m.

Examples of offered workshops include:

Learning the History, Telling the History – Can We? Should We? A Workshop By and For the Second Generation

When Survivors no longer live among us, the Holocaust will completely pass into history. This workshop will address the challenges Second Generation faces in keeping the dialogue open and the history alive.

Exploring History through Artifacts: Three Boys in Terezín

This workshop is about collections donated by three boys, Frank Gruenwald, Michael Kraus, and Michael Gruenbaum, who were imprisoned in the Nazi transit camp of Terezín. Representatives from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will discuss the experiences of each boy, the artifacts they kept, and the stories behind the donations to the USHMM.

Hitler’s Secret Weapon: Media Marketing in the Holocaust

This presentation examines the history of the multi-faceted assault on the Jews through the press – how it was powered, why it worked, how it was created, and what it says about the media’s influence today. The discussion will also illustrate how the media strove to turn ordinary citizens into Nazis, and how it succeeded in selling the idea of genocide to the German people.

My Survival as a Russian Partisan in the Lipiczany Forest

Scientist, professor, artist and author Miriam Brysk discusses how her family survived a massacre in the Lida Ghetto, how ghetto youth attempted to mount a revolt, and how her family escaped the ghetto and joined with Russian Partisans. The discussion will provide an overview of the little known history of how unarmed Jews survived in forest family camps, and how armed Jewish partisans fought against the German Army.

From Private to Public to Silence: Romani (Gypsy) Holocaust Remembrance

The presentation will briefly introduce the experiences of Roma and Sinti in World War II and the Holocaust, focusing on countries in which the Romani population was almost completely annihilated.

From Gunpowder to Bowls: Material Culture in Auschwitz-Birkenau with Eyewitness Testimony by Claire Heymann

This workshop will examine material culture in Auschwitz-Birkenau by exploring four questions of inquiry: (1) what material was taken from the Jews upon arrival, (2) what items were given to the prisoners, (3) what objects were created by prisoners, and (4) how specific possessions influenced survival.

From Warrior to Witness: Liberation through the Eyes of the Liberator

This workshop is presented by two men from different parts of the world who fought against the Germans from different armies, but experienced the same trauma when they came upon skeletal Jews still alive in Nazi camps.

Displaced Persons Camps: Reviving Culture and Community

A former resident of a Displaced Persons Camp will present an intimate glimpse into the toil, imagination and creativity with which the Surviving Remnant of European Jewry reclaimed its cultural and communal life.

“Conspiracy of Goodness”: Rescue in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

Married couple Hanne and Max Liebmann met while imprisoned in the Gurs detention camp in southern France.  Both escaped Gurs, and reunited in Le Chambon, a Huguenot village that became the epicenter for rescue. They will discuss their personal experiences of rescue as well as the collective “conspiracy of goodness” that spread through Le Chambon and all the villages on the Vivarais Plateau.

Denazification: An American Fabrication for Germany’s Rehabilitation

This workshop will use Würzburg as a case study to examine “denazification,” the Allies’ policy and practice of removing Nazism from postwar Germany during 1945-1949 and look at the failures and controversy of denazification in the American, British, and French zones of occupied Germany.

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