FALL 2014 - 5775

Dear Holocaust Educators,


On June 26, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law legislation which strongly encourages Pennsylvania schools to offer instruction in the Holocaust, genocide and other human rights violations. The language is significant and detailed, stressing instruction which is age-appropriate, historically accurate, and connected to personal responsibility as well as societal response to such violations. The plan is already in process; a statewide group of senior educators is exploring guidelines and resources which meet state standards in anticipation of professional development and classroom implementation in 2015-16.


We encourage you to read the full text of Act 70 of 2014.   


This is also an academic year of significant 70th anniversaries and commemorations -- revolts and rescues, ghetto liquidations and forced marches, in advance of the Allied liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe. Let this timeline be your stimulus for classroom lessons and projects. 


Josey G. Fisher

Holocaust Education Consultant



"The Holocaust by Bullets"

Arnold and Esther Tuzman Memorial 

Holocaust Teach-In


Sunday, November 9, 2014, 3-6 P.M.  

Gratz College

7605 Old York Road, Melrose Park, PA


Father Patrick Desbois, the French priest who has dedicated his life to researching the Holocaust, fighting antisemitism and furthering Jewish-Catholic relations, will give the keynote speech, based on his award-winning book and research. His interviews of over 3500 Ukrainian witnesses to the Einsatsgruppen mobile killing squads have helped uncover more than 1300 execution sites. Break-out sessions follow for all attendees; professional development credit for PA and NJ educators and attorneys are available. Click for more information and registration or contact Mindy Blechman.


Additional information on Father Desbois' research 

Detailed maps

"What Can Jews and Catholics Say to Each Other Today? 
An Exercise in Re-Imagining Two Landmark Documents"


Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 7-9 P.M.

Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, Saint Joseph's University

Large Maguire Room, Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall


Rev. Dr. John Crossin and Rabbi Dr. David Fox Sandmel will re-examine two highly significant post-Holocaust documents in light of the present day -- the groundbreaking declaration, "Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Relations," issued by the Second Vatican Council, rejecting the long history of hostility toward Jews, and "Dabru Emet: A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity" explaining to Jewish readers the resulting impact of such documents on interfaith relations. 


"Abraham Joshua Heschel's Vision of a New Jewish-Christian Relationship and its Continuing Importance for Today"


Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 7-9 P.M. 

Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, Saint Joseph's University 

Large Maguire Room, Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall


Dr. Susannah Heschel, religious historian and daughter of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, will reflect on her father's article "No Religion is an Island" (1966) and his pivotal role in shaping the new relationship between Jews and Christians.

Details for both programs and link to campus map   



Edwin Black - Kristallnacht Scholar-in-Residence

Congregation Tifereth Israel of Lower Bucks County


November 7- 9, 2014.


Presentations by noted author of IBM and the Holocaust  


Click for details or call the Tifereth Israel office 215-752-3468. 







Run Boy Run

Saturday, November 8, 7:30 P.M.
The Gershman Y
401 South Broad St., Philadelphia

True story of eight-year-old Polish boy and his escape from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942. Experiencing both terror and resilience, his flight is portrayed from the perspective of a young child. Based on Uri Orlev's historical novel, 10th edition 2007, HMH Books for Young Readers, 6+.  Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew and German with English subtitles, including special guest, screenwriter Heinrich Hadding. 2 hours. Click here for trailer, tickets and further information.

Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent
Tuesday, November 11, 6 and 8 P.M.
National Museum of American Jewish History
Corner of 5th and Market Streets, Philadelphia

Young rabbi Joachim Prinz refused to be silent in interwar Berlin when rights and dignity of German Jews are systematically stripped away, stressing the values of Judaism and importance of self-preservation. Emigrating to the U.S. in 1937 where he witnesses widespread racism against African-Americans, Prinz became a key leader in civil rights movement, committed to strengthening Jewish-Black relations and encouraging the power of the collective voice in the universal struggle for peace. Special guests are documentary filmmakers Rachel Eskin Fisher and Rachel Nierenberg Pasternak. 50 minutes. Click here for trailer, tickets and further information.

The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Thursday, November 13, 11:30 A.M.
The Gershman Y
401 South Broad St., Philadelphia

Alice Herz-Sommer, world's oldest Holocaust survivor at 104 years old and practicing pianist, shares her search for a fulfilling life despite tragic losses. Through her beautiful, vigorous playing and her positive, witty voice, Alice stresses her endless fascination with life. 40 minutes. This special event includes lunch and a piano performance from Herz-Sommer's repertoire by Russian-American pianist Regina Shenderovich. Click here for tickets and further information. 

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

Friday, November 14, 10:45 A.M. - Student Performance
Saturday, November 15, 8:00 P.M. - Community Performance
National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH)
Corner of 5th and Market Streets, Philadelphia

Play depicting story of Polish Catholic rescuer Irena Sendler who saved the lives of over 2500 children in the Warsaw Ghetto, burying their names in jars with hope that their families would return to find them. The story was brought to light by three high school girls in Kansas, researching Sendler for a National History Day (NHD) project. 
For student performance for grades 5+, event includes visit to Museum before or after performance. Student groups receive discount (register before November 3). Contact Group Services at 215-923-3811, ext. 141 or groups@nmajh.org.
Tickets for community performance, followed by dessert reception, $40 per person. Contact PhillyShul.com or call 215-238-2100 for more details.
NOTE: Professional Development Opportunity 
Saturday, November 15, 11 A.M.

Teacher Norman Conard, who supervised the NHD project, joins Andrea Reidell, educational specialist at National Archives in Philadelphia, and Vera Da Vinci, NMAJH education outreach manager, for discussion about the long-term impact of the Irena Sendler Project, as well as implementing NHD in the classroom using NMAJH resources. Contact Vera Da Vinci at 215-923-3811, ext. 118 for information and reservation. Free program; lunch included. 




Museum of Jewish Heritage (MJH)

Photographic exhibit traces the history of the town of Oświęcim, called Auschwitz by the Germans, tracing its rich pre-war history of Jews and non-Jews living side by side to the present day. Exhibit may also provide introduction before visiting the exhibit at the MJH in New York City. Click here for details.

For supplementary resource from the USC Shoah Foundation , see "Born in the City that became Auschwitz", a 28-minute film including clips of Holocaust testimonies of individuals born and raised in Oświęcim.



"Children of the Lodz Ghetto" - A Memorial Research Project

Opportunity for individual or class project to research the lives and fate of Lodz Ghetto children within records available on the USHMM website. In line with the 70th anniversary of the final deportations from the Ghetto.



Yad Vashem
Landscapes, cityscapes and views of daily life by Jewish artists living in Europe prior to and during the Holocaust; artworks selected from the Museum collection with brief biographies of the artists.

"Their Fate Will Be My Fate Too..."
Teachers Who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust
Biographies of those who risked their lives to save their Jewish students in contrast to the majority who stood by or enabled the perpetrators.

"Stay Together
The Fate of Jewish Families in 1944

Personal accounts illustrating the tradition of family unity during the pivotal year of escalating deportations before the fall of Nazi Germany.



Extensive resource including narrative history, and primary source photos, maps, audio recordings, video, documents, manuscripts, and artwork of pre-war Jewish life.

Note: "Letters to Afar", an onsite exhibition at YIVO Institute in New York, will feature home movies made by New York City's Jewish immigrants who traveled back to visit Poland during the 1920s and 1930s, through March 22, 2015. Click for details.

Comprehensive online resource based on recent New York exhibition of International Center of Photography with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Newly discovered works by the iconic photographer of pre-war Eastern Europe document his career from the early 1920s through the 1950s. Includes exhibition photographs clustered by theme, as well as Vishniac chronology and resources.



Letters, Documents & Images of the Jellinek Family Confronting the Holocaust

One extended family's story, extensively researched by descendant Paulette Jellinek, provides intimate and personal primary source material for research and dramatic reading. Includes original letters and documents with translation, family biographies and photographs, maps and resources.  


SPRING 2015 

JCRC Programs  


Youth Symposium on the Holocaust


One-day program for high school students in public, parochial and private schools in Delaware Valley, including discussion with survivors and educational workshop for teachers.

 Saint Joseph's University

March 10, 2015  

West Chester University

March 12, 2015 

 Other locations and dates TBA.

Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition
Entry deadline 
March 6, 2015

For students in grades 7-12 in public, parochial and private schools. Opportunity to respond to lessons of the Holocaust through creative expression - poetry, prose, painting, sculpture, music, dance and multimedia.

Submit all entries to:
Jewish Community Relations Council 
2100 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Annual Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Ceremony
Sunday, April 19, 2015


For further information about JCRC
Holocaust programs and requests for speakers, contact 

Beth Razin


For Holocaust Education consultation, contact 


45th Annual Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust and 

the Churches

Philadelphia, PA

Spring 2015

Details, dates TBA


Institute of Jewish-Catholic Relations

Saint Joseph's University

Tuesdays, April 14,

21, and 28, 2015

7:00 - 9:00 P.M.

Details, location TBA 

Spring Lecture Series:

"Israel and Contemporary 

Jewish-Christian Relations" 

New Books for Middle School Students

Pieces of the Past: The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz

Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1948 (Dear Canada Series) by Carol Matas, Scholastic Canada, 2013. 2014 Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Older Readers. Fictional Polish Jewish orphan describes struggle to adjust to post-war home and  traumatic memories of war-time experience. Grade 6+

 The Winter Horses


by Philip Kerr. N

Y: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. Powerful work of historical fiction based on the true story of the Przewalski horses in Ukraine, a rare ancient breed of wild horses which the invading Nazis planned to eliminate as part of their goal to "cleanse." A young Jewish girl, the only known survivor of her Ukrainian village, gets a mating pair of horses to safety. Engaging and well-written, with historical base not widely taught.


Grade 7+ (Note: reference to cannibalism and mass murder but no specific descriptions)

New Books for High School Students and Advanced Readers
The Diary of Rywka Lipszyc 
by Rywka Lipszyc, Alexandra Zapruder (Editor, Introduction), Jewish Family and Children's Services Holocaust Center, San Francisco, 2014. Handwritten chronicle of Lodz Ghetto from October 1943 to April 1944 by a 14-year-old girl discovered by Soviet doctor in the ruins of the Auschwitz-Birkenau crematoria at the time of liberation. The diary remained in the doctor's private papers until her death, when her granddaughter brought it to the U.S. Sensitively translated with footnotes, essays, photos, and maps.

Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer
by Bettina Stangneth, Knopf, 2014. Groundbreaking research by German philosopher counters the controversial writings of Hannah Arendt in response to the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. 
For review see Richard Wolin,
The Banality of Evil: The Demise of a Legend in the Fall 2014 issue of the Jewish Review of Books.
Fifty Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany
by Steven Pressman. Harper; First Edition edition, 2014) Based on the acclaimed documentary. Philadelphia couple Gil and Eleanor Kraus bring 50 children out of Vienna on the brink of war to safety in the U.S.

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