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L’Chaim 2022 | Honoring Violins of Hope
Our honorees had integral roles in giving the gift of Violins of Hope to the Birmingham community in 2018, and making the award-winning documentary, Dreams of Hope, possible. Their contributions continue to keep the history and lessons of the Holocaust alive providing yet another way for the AHEC to fulfill its mission and help ensure a more just and equitable future for us all.
Amnon and Avshi Weinstein, Co-Founders, “Violins of Hope”
Sallie Downs, Project Coordinator, “Violins of Hope Birmingham”
Dr. Henry Panion III, Producer, “Dreams of Hope”
Kay Donnellan, Project Coordinator, “Violins of Hope Birmingham”
Henry Nathan & Sophie (Nathan) Nathan and the Nathan Families of Emmerich, Germany
Presented by: George Nathan, Atlanta
This presentation was part of the 2022 Birmingham Yom HaShoah Commemoration.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration
Facilitator: Esther Gerson Levy, 2nd Generation Survivor
The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.”
Join the AHEC in observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day with second generation survivor, Esther Gerson Levy, who will be sharing her family’s experience during the Holocaust followed by a Q&A.
Teacher Cadre: The Struggle for Jewish Equality before the Holocaust
Facilitator: Dr. David Meola, University of South Alabama
For many people, anti-Jewish and antisemitic violence is crystallized in the Holocaust, but they do not know how it fits within the larger narrative of Jews’ centuries-long endeavor to become citizens with equal rights. In this talk/workshop, Dr. Meola will introduce the struggle for Jewish emancipation alongside a different view of Jewish history, one that looks to show Jewish life and contributions to society and how they fought for equality.
1.5 CEU Credits for Teachers available through PowerSchool
Archives at Home: Threads of the Past-Recreating Clothing of Holocaust Survivors
Facilitator: Heidi Damsky
Heidi Damsky is a talented knitter, a devoted grandmother, and a globetrotter, well-versed in the history of the Holocaust. All of these characteristics converged serendipitously when a friend of Heidi’s shared a pattern for a very special child’s sweater. The pattern replicates a green sweater worn by Krystyna Chiger while hiding from the Nazis in the sewers of Lvov, Poland, from 1943 to 1944. Knitted by her beloved grandmother before the war, the sweater survived Krystyna’s harrowing experience. Heidi knitted a beautiful replica of the sweater and generously donated it Alabama Holocaust Education Center’s archives.
Heidi participated in a similar project shortly after—this time recreating a child’s red dress. The original dress belonged to Judy Fleischer Kolb. Judy’s family escaped Nazi Germany in 1939 and lived in Shanghai as refugees, where Judy was born in 1940. Her red dress was knitted by her grandmother during these difficult years, and the original has been donated to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Like the green sweater, replicas of the red dress have been made by knitters all over, including Heidi.
Join us in conversation with Heidi as we explore how these beautiful pieces are teaching tools and reminders of life, hope, and the wartime Jewish experience.
Teacher Cadre: The Importance of Teaching Holocaust Literature to Middle and High School Students
Facilitator: Dr. Eric Sterling, AUM
Dr. Sterling will explore why it is important to teach Holocaust literature (including drama and fiction) to middle and high school students, as well as methods of teaching the literature effectively. He will discuss personal connections, empathy, teaching strategies, ways of creating meaningful discussions, and various Holocaust literary works that students like and that function effectively in the classroom.
Eric Sterling is Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he has taught for the past 27 years. He teaches various English classes, including Holocaust literature. He has published widely on the Holocaust, including the book Life in the Ghettos during the Holocaust (Syracuse University Press). His mother was born in Nazi Germany and taken away from her family by Nazi soldiers, and his grandfather was imprisoned in Buchenwald.
In the News: The Holocaust Revealed in Birmingham Newspapers
Facilitator: Chris Bertolini and Emma Herr, AHEC Interns
AHEC interns and UAB students, Chris Bertolini and Emma Herr, have enriched the AHEC with their year-long research into how Birmingham newspapers reported the unfolding events in Nazi Germany. Join us as we explore “What We Knew?” and “When?”