The Touro College and University System will host “Commemorating Yom HaShoah: A 70-Year Perspective,” in observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 16.
The event will feature several survivors who will recount their personal experiences during the war, and whose testimony and insight will provide invaluable lessons for meeting the challenges of our time. They include Dr. Mark Hasten, chairman of the Touro College Board of Trustees; Mrs. Ruth Zimbler, a Kindertransport survivor; Mr. Baruch Gross, a former prisoner of Auschwitz-Birkenau; and Ms. Orly Gross, who accompanied her grandfather to Auschwitz earlier this year. Dr. Alan Kadish, president and CEO of Touro College, will deliver remarks as well.
“In this 70th year since the end of the war and the liberation of the death camps, we have a brief chance to hear firsthand from those whose experiences are still all too real,” said Professor Anne Bayefsky, the director of the Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and a cosponsor of the event. “It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss, so as to ensure we never repeat those dark days.”
Dr. Hasten grew up in a shtetl in Poland and participated in the liberation of the Majdanek concentration camp while fighting with the Polish Brigade. He later served in the Israel Defense Force during Israel’s War of Independence. Originally from Vienna, Mrs. Zimbler was an eye witness to Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Shattering Glass.” Kristallnacht commonly refers to the events of November 10, 1938, in Germany and Austria, in which hundreds of Jews were murdered and thousands of Jewish-owned stores, homes, and synagogues were ransacked.
Ms. Gross, a student at Lander College for Women-The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School (LCW), prevailed upon her grandfather to return to Poland for the second time since the war for the 70th anniversary commemoration on the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945. The trip was organized by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center, in conjunction with the World Jewish Congress and the Shoah Foundation, which arranged for companions to accompany the now-elderly survivors.
Touro’s Yom HaShoah commemoration will take place on April 16, 5:00—7:00 p.m. at LCW, located at 227 West 60th Street in Manhattan. Admission is free but attendees must e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP as seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.
In addition to Prof. Bayefsky, Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike, dean of LCW; Dr. Donne Kampel, associate dean of faculties and founder of the Touro College Women’s Leadership Council; and the Carlebach Shul in Manhattan are event cosponsors.
The Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust aims to understand, explore, and evaluate contemporary mechanisms for protecting human rights and the rule of law in view of the lessons of the Holocaust and its aftermath. Its purpose is to promote tolerance through educational programs and activities, and aims to improve our understanding of the importance of the promotion of human rights and freedoms. Originally established in 1999, the Institute is now a Touro-wide center that covers the full spectrum of Touro College’s many contributions to the field of human-rights education and conveying the lessons of the Holocaust. On July 20, 2007, the UN’s Economic and Social Council granted the Institute special consultative status with the UN, thus providing it with unique access to global decision-makers and increasing the reach of its message.