By Ruth Rotkowitz Original Publication: 2022 “I am so glad we’re here,” my eleven-year-old daughter mused as she gazed out the car window, squinting at the rows of stately saguaro cacti lining the dusty road like prickly green soldiers standing at attention. “But it’s too bad we won’t be able to celebrate the first night of Chanukah.” “Why not?” came the unanimous response from the four adults in the car – my sister and brother-in-law, and my husband and me. “Duh!” declared my six year-old niece. “We are in Tombstone, Arizona! Who celebrates Chanukah here? The cowboys?” “We celebrate it, wherever we are,” I announced, rummaging in my purse and producing a tiny traveling menorah, barely four inches high. Everyone…
By Mirla Geclewicz Raz Original Publication: January 11, 2021 When I look at the picture of the young man, on his way to the train that will take him to Auschwitz, my heart breaks. This young man will witness unspeakable horrors, far worse than anything he could have imagined while he was in the Lodz Ghetto. In March 2017, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross,” about an exhibition of photographs taken in the Lodz Ghetto. After imprisoning the Jews in the Lodz Ghetto, the Germans gave Mr. Ross a camera and told him to take pictures of life in the ghetto—propaganda pictures that is; pictures that were posed and taken of the ghetto
By Kim Klett, PHA board member and educator April 2023 “April is the cruelest month,” wrote poet T.S. Eliot, and looking at the genocidal acts and human rights violations that have occurred in April, he was correct. As we enter April and Genocide Remembrance Month, it is imperative to remember, reflect, and strive to do better in combatting genocide wherever and whenever we see it happening. This April, students in my year-long Holocaust Literature course continue learning about Rwanda and will begin learning about genocide in Darfur. Darfur was the first “other genocide” I began teaching after I had started this course (then semester-long) in 2000. The first few years of the course, I only focused on the Holocaust, as
Feb 2023 Imagining the moment of ‘liberation” might conjure up visions of people dancing in the streets or toasting with champagne. That was the media version of V-E Day, but it was certainly NOTthe picture of the state of liberation for Jewish Holocaust survivors. Most survivors were barely alive. And many who survived to see their liberators died in the days, weeks, and monthsthereafter of starvation, overeating, injuries, disease and exhaustion. Every survivor vividly remembers the moments leading up to the long-awaited dream of liberation from bondage, slavery, exile, starvation, abuse, and the fear of murderous extinction. Many even described their experiences in oral, video, or written testimonies. But there was no ONE event of liberation, as there was
Choir in Landsberg DP camp, c. 1947. Two of the young women pictured are Nechama Santocki (later Shneorson) and Reva Sidrer (later Baran). They are the aunts of PHA board member Ettie Zilber; they donated this photo to USHMM.
Learning about “Uncomfortable Truths”—Two Perspectives
From Ettie Zilber, Educator, Author, 2G, Board Member of PHA
I consider myself a well-educated person, with a few high academic degrees, which made my motherproud. I grew up and was educated in New York. After living and working in five other countries, Irelocated to Phoenix, Arizona and became active as a volunteer at the Heard Museum(https://heard.org/). This was the first time I learned about the terrible abuses against AmericanIndians, including the history of the infamous Boarding Schools for American Indian children. I washorrified to learn that children were forced–actually kidnapped–and sent thousands of miles awayfrom home to government or church-run schools throughout the United States. I was mortified and‘uncomfortable’ to learn that my own government was responsible for these decisions, theseviolations of treaties, these deaths, and these abuses.
It is the earliest memory of my life in Germany, during the Nazi years, when I was six and we lived in Berlin’s center, on the corner of Uhland Strasseand Kurfuerstendammin a large second floorapartment which alsocontained my orthodontistmother’s dental practice. Ludwig Uhland, poet and lawyer,who was born, lived, and died in Tuebingen,where daughter Lynn once studied,could not possibly have imagined,as he wrote his Fatherland poems,that one day the street namedfor him would be littered withshards of broken glass fromthe shattered store frontsof the Jewish-owned businessesacross the street, so visiblefrom my second story perch. Nor could he have imaginedthe acrid smell of smokethat smothered the neighborhoodthat November day in 1938,caused by the burning of thesynagogue just a block away,the