Tag Archives: Holocaust survivor

National Days of Remembrance

"Never Again" Sign at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

Update: Click here to watch video of the May 17 national remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, which was broadcast live on the USHMM website. The ceremony included remarks by Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who spoke of how “human compassion was out of fashion” during the Holocaust, and Isreal ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, who shared that remembering alone is never enough — because goodness must be “galvanized by action.” Other speakers included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who spoke about justice and the law, and USHMM director Sara Bloomfield. Click here to follow Twitter comments on this ceremony.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. has been charged by the United States Congress with leading our country’s national commemoration of the Holocaust.

This year’s Holocaust remembrance week is May 1-8. The theme is “Justice and Accountability in the Face of Genocide: What Have We Learned?” But you don’t need to visit D.C. to participate.

Observances are being held by state and local governments, military bases, workplaces, schools, synagogues and civic centers throughout the country, according to the USHMM.

Arizona events include the “CMS 3rd Annual Days of Remembrance Community Event” in Cottonwood — taking place Thurs, May 5, at 6pm at Cottonwood Middle School. Students will open the event “by sharing their published books about genocide and the Holocaust.”

A special USHMM program titled “Life After Death: Holocaust Survivors in the Postwar World” takes place that same evening in Scottsdale. It features Mark Roseman, Ph.D. , the Museum’s 2010-11 Ina Levine Invitational Scholar and the Pat M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.

Roseman will “explore the trajectories that survivors’ lives took after World War II and how popular perceptions of the survivor became central to the late 20th-century consciousness” at 6:30pm at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus in Scottsdale. RSVP by May 2 to Gerry Hoch at 972-490-6300 or southwest@ushmm.org.

Visit the website for Jewish News of Greater Phoenix for additional information about Holocaust remembrance and related events. If your organization is hosting an event, please share details by commenting below to let our readers know.

Click here to share a comment on the USHMM website about how you plan to remember the Holocaust this week, here to watch a webcast of the May 17 commemoration at the U.S. Capitol and here to learn how you can participate in a virtual names reading ceremony remembering victims of the Holocaust.

If you’re looking for additional information about Holocaust remembrance for children and teens, read “Remember and Act: Engaging children in social justice” in the May 2011 issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

The article ends with the following reflection: Memory is never passive, and silence never neutral. We must remember, we must remain vigilant and every one of us must act.

— Lynn

Note: Information about the Holocaust, as well as Holocaust remembrance, is also available from Yad Vashem in Israel. Click here to learn more about “Jewish American Heritage Month,” celebrated in May.

Coming up: Bringing a Holocaust museum to the Valley


Don’t blink in Chandler

"Multicultural Harmony" by Sara, 10, Zehra, 12, and Ayla, 11 - Funkor Child Art Center

A bevy of alerts from the fine folks in Chandler crossed my virtual desk today — all noting upcoming events with a multicultural twist.

I got the feeling after reading them that you should never blink in Chandler, lest you miss something truly remarkable.

Here’s a quick review of just a few of the multicultural arts experiences you can enjoy during a single month — January 2011 — in Chandler:

First, the initial fundraiser for the Tolerance & Holocaust Museum to be built in Chandler. It features a premiere of the award-winning documentary “Rene & I” on Sat, Jan 8, at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

The film — which is being presented by the East Valley Jewish Community Center — shares the story of Rene and Irene Guttman, twins sent to Auschwitz at the age of six who survived cruel experiments by Joseph Mengele. 

“Rene & I” is described as “an uplifting story about overcoming adversity against all odds” and “a tribute to tolerance, endurance of the human spirit, and the triumph of good over evil.”

Holocaust survivor Helen Handler, who was sent to Auschwitz at age 15, will speak prior to the film’s screening. Handler is the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust and has dedicated her life to “preventing hate and genocide.”

The evening will also include a “bookstore event” in the lobby and opportunities to learn more about how you can support the building of the museum or become a museum volunteer.

A second event designed to foster greater awareness and acceptance takes place just one week later — on Sat, Jan 15, in the courtyard of the downtown Chandler Public Library.

The “16th Annual Chandler Multicultural Festival” brings together “a collection of nations and cultures” for a day of dance, music, art, ethnic foods and more.

Think flamenco, Native American and step dancing. Think music from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Africa and the Dominican Republic. Think Russian/Jewish folk music and Middle Eastern music played on the Oud.

Students from the International School of Arizona are scheduled to perform songs in French, Spanish and Italian at 12:10pm on the “Unity Stage,” while students from Hope Chinese School are scheduled to perform at noon on the “Celebration Stage.”

The event also features live entertainment, diverse artisans and “an interactive area for children where they can experience a rock wall, bounce activity, coloring, and arts and crafts.”

A third event, also part of Chandler’s “2011 Celebration of Unity,” is “an inspirational multi-media jazz concert based on poetic masterwork by poet/playwright Langston Hughes.”

The concert takes place Fri, Jan 28, at Chandler Center for the Arts. “Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods of Jazz” will be performed by Dr. Ron McCurdy and his jazz quartet.

“Ask Your Mama” is a 12-part epic poem that pays “homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad beginning in the 1960s.”

Hughes scored the poem with “musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop and progressive jazz, Latin ‘cha cha’ and Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indies calypso, and African drumming.”

The performance will be accompanied by “video images of the Harlem Renaissance by African American artists and photographers including Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks and Romare Bearden.”

Now, perhaps, you understand my admonition to avoid blinking in Chandler. But do feel free to clap, scat or tap your toes.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about the “Rene & I” event at www.evjcc.org and more about the other two events at www.chandlercenter.org. Details about Chandler’s multicultural festival are available at www.chandleraz.gov/special-events or the city’s special events hotline at 480-782-2735. Click here to learn more about the Funkor Child Art Center.

Coming up: What do “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” Vanderbilt University and The Dramatist Guild have in common?