Children of Survivors are Stepping Up

Categories: Blog, Now at the HMC

By: Gary Karp, President of the Board of Directors – 

As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of WWII, we are aware of the need to cultivate a new generation of storytellers. The personal stories of loss, survival and rebuilding must be told, and who better to tell them than the children of the survivors?

To this end, our education department has received a grant from the Covenant Foundation for a project called My Parents’ Story and My Own. Our educators will work with Dr. Karen Shawn, Associate Professor of Jewish Education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University, to train adult children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors (commonly referred to as 2G’s and 3G’s) to speak to our museum guests. These speakers will be living examples of how, despite the lasting impact of the Holocaust on survivors, their parents were able to rebuild their lives, families and communities.

HMC Docent Jim Berk tells students about his mother’s Holocaust experiences. (Photo: Jerry Zolynsky)

The project will begin with a two-day seminar conducted by Dr. Shawn and our education specialists. They will guide participants in the creation of compelling narratives that will educate and inspire listeners. Once the seminar has been completed, our education staff will continue to work with the participants and prepare them for speaking to our student groups and general audiences. In parallel, Dr. Shawn also will conduct a teacher workshop on using Holocaust literature ina variety of creative and meaningful ways.

The HMC’s goal is to teach our visitors the lessons of the Holocaust. Through the second generation speakers, visitors will learn what happens when hateful ideas turn into hate-filled—and in this case, deadly—actions.  In the partnership with Dr. Shawn and through the generosity of the Covenant Foundation, we continue to engage, educate, and empower by remembering the Holocaust.

Learn more about our Holocaust Survivor Speaker presentations