2021 Virtual Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust

//2021 Virtual Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust

2021 Virtual Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust

INTRODUCTION by Mary Ann Answini, Director, Holocaust Education and Resource Center

In the early spring, it was our hope that the 33rd Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust could be a hybrid event with some in-person presentations, as well as several Holocaust testimony webinars. However, with the unsurmountable challenges surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, it became clear that the Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust, scheduled for May 11th and May 12thh at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, needed to be canceled. Our primary concern was to protect the health and safety of our survivors and valued guests.

At the same time, our mission grew more urgent.  Hateful, brazen, and dangerous rhetoric appeared, and antisemitic threats continued to escalate, fueled by the pandemic. How do we combat these disturbing trends? We must use the transformative power of education. We must continue to teach the lessons of Holocaust history that this world and our youth so desperately need. Education is the first step toward understanding the complexity that is human diversity and creating social change. 

During these unprecedented times, the Holocaust Education Resource Center remained committed to teaching and supporting educators as they present the lessons of the Holocaust. We needed to move to a vastly different approach, that of a completely virtual environment. We recognized that it created added immense challenges to teaching about this complex topic effectively. However, recognizing the importance of the subject matter, we felt the urgency to proceed. 

With the assistance of Joanna Arruda, Manager of the Speakers Bureau at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, we were able to procure opportunities for students and teachers to experience several presentations of Holocaust Survivors. In addition, The Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center from Philadelphia, along with their President, Chuck Feldman, Education Program Director, Geoff Quinn, and Dr. Ruth Almy played pivotal roles in creating a completely virtual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust for the participants from Northeastern Pennsylvania. We are profoundly grateful for their help in making the event come to fruition.   

The Northeast Intermediate Unit (NEIU 19) and several school districts were extremely excited to have the opportunity to expose their students to the virtual presentations of the survivors because all field trips were canceled due to the pandemic. Students and teachers were directed to register with the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center. Registration was free but limited to 500 devices per session. After individuals completed the registration process, they were emailed an invitation to attend the Webinar presentation. Teachers were provided complete biographies of each presenter and wove the digital sessions with the Holocaust survivors into lesson plans for their students.

Registrations with HAMEC provided us with some initial data on attendance at each session. Because teachers logged in under one email for the simulcast on their Smart Boards, a follow-up email was sent at the conclusion of each webinar in order to glean the actual numbers of students viewing the virtual symposium. Each of the Monday through Friday morning presentations had between 240 to 472 viewers, while the afternoon sessions averaged 60 viewers. 

Teachers, who were unable to attend due to scheduling challenges, were directed to still register for the sessions. A post-webinar email was then sent to them acknowledging their absence but providing them with the links to watch the survivor testimonies at a time conducive to their schedule.

Several survivors, who would have been in Scranton for the symposium, agreed to participate in the virtual educational opportunity. Survivor presentations were at 9 AM and 1 PM daily throughout the week of May 10th through May 14th.  Each guest speaker shared his/her unique testimony, which encompassed memories of close family and friends. Some remained sole survivors; others were lucky to survive and reunite with one or more surviving family members. Survivors provided a journey into the fears, emotions, and experiences that cannot be found in history books.

At the conclusion of each presentation, a question-and-answer period yielded many interesting questions and further discussions. The Q and A portion of the program provided all participants with the increasingly rare ability to experience “living history” rendering a moving and emotional impact. 

Underneath history’s facts and figures are the individual stories of the six million Jews and millions of other innocent victims whose voices, hopes, and dreams were silenced in the Holocaust. We remember and honor the lives of those who were murdered and the survivors, who despite great trauma and private pain, tried to impress on their young listeners the need to shy away from prejudice, bullying, labeling, and negative behavior towards their peers and other individuals. These survivors built new lives after living through unimaginable hardship. They demonstrated courage and resilience of the human spirit, as they became contributing members of society, who continue to share messages of hope and light.

Our honorable guest presenters were:

Daniel Goldsmith
Daniel Goldsmith Survivor
Daniel Goldsmith was born in Antwerp, Belgium to an orthodox Jewish family. His father was a plumber and his mother a homemaker. He was 8 years old when the German army invaded in May 1940. His family tried to flee to France but was forced to return to Antwerp. In August 1942, his father was placed in a forced labor camp and his mother was forced to sell some of his tools to buy food for Daniel and his sister, Lillian.

After the Nazis raided their street one night in September 1942, arresting Jewish families, Daniel’s mother visited a known resistance movement member and within 48 hours Daniel and Lillian were placed in a Catholic convent. In December, Daniel was moved to a boy’s orphanage and was given a false identification of “Willy Peters.”

The orphanage was raided in May 1944 and Danny, with other boys, was arrested and sent to multiple prisons. On the way to the third prison the boys escape from the train. They ended up in Perwez, Belgium and the local priest hid the children in various homes in the village.

Danny was 12 years old when he was liberated in September 1944. In April 1948, Danny arrived in the United States.

Mark Schonwetter
Mark SchonwetterSurvivor
The only way they would survive, was if they stayed … TOGETHER.
Sala Schonwetter lived the perfect life. Married to the man of her dreams, mother to two beautiful children, and a member of one of the most respected families in town; she had it all. The year was 1939, and the world was about to change. In a heartbreaking instant, she traded her secure life, for one of unspeakable hardship, and danger. Nothing more than hunted prey, she relied on her inner strength and indomitable will to keep her children alive. But would it be enough? One thing she knew for sure, she and her children would live or die …. TOGETHER.
Manek (Mark) was six years old when his world collapsed. At first, he failed to see it but reality came into focus when his loving mother was forced to beat him to save his life. Suddenly thrust into a new role as man of the house, would he be able to keep his family safe?
As a young Jewish boy in Poland during World War II, he spent the war years in hiding with his mother and sister in the Polish countryside. As a war of nations thundered around him, Mark’s story displays the magnificent strength of a mother’s love and the incredible courage of good people during the worst times.
After the war ended, the family temporarily stayed in Poland. However, they immigrated to Israel in 1957. Due to a lack of job opportunities, Mark decided to move to the U.S. in 1961 with the backing of his mother’s relatives and only five dollars to his name.
Unable to speak English, he nonetheless obtained work at a jewelry factory, where he swept floors under the supervision of a man who spoke Yiddish. He soon learned English and rose through the ranks in five years to become the factory manager. Within five more years, he had the opportunity to purchase another company, Lieberfarb. Mark turned it into a successful wedding ring and bridal company, which he owned and ran for over forty years. He took the American Dream to heart and built a life in his adopted country. Mark feels blessed to have had a lifetime.
Ruth Zimbler
Ruth ZimblerSurvivor
Ruth was born in Vienna in 1928. On November 10, 1938, during Kristallnacht (The Night of the Broken Glass), she and her brother Walter watched the destruction of the largest synagogue in Vienna from their apartment. Glass littered the streets, but Ruth recalls not the smashed windows but the smoke.
Then a 10-year-old in Vienna, she remembers standing outside her home with her brother and an older relative and watching the family’s synagogue burn to the ground. Nearby, firefighters stoically watched the fire swallow the building, only lifting their hoses to keep the flames from spreading to nearby, presumably non-Jewish homes.
“We couldn’t have known it at the time, but it was the beginning of the end,” Zimbler says.
Historians consider the pogrom to be the curtain-raiser to the Holocaust in Europe. But the attack was especially shocking for Zimbler, who had previously led a privileged life in the heart of the Austrian capital.
Born to dad Markus, a social worker, and mom Hella, a sought-after seamstress, Zimbler and her younger brother Walter grew up in relative prosperity. During the 1930s, when the world was still recovering from the Great Depression, Zimbler’s family had a nice, upper-middle-class home attached to the city’s largest synagogue and maintained by their housekeeper, Marie.
Zimbler remembers herself as an ordinary city kid — speaking German at the local public school she attended, going to Hebrew school in the afternoons and playing outside with her friends.
But everything changed in the spring of 1938, when Hitler, chancellor of Germany chancellor since 1933, marched into Vienna. “It was the last time the gentile kids played with us,” says Zimbler, adding that her beloved teacher of four years arrived at school the next day wearing a swastika.
The months that followed brought fear and indignities. At the local library, where Ruth spent so much time, the librarian she’d known forever stopped letting her check out books.
“[She told me,] ‘You’re a Jew,’” Ruth says. She responded, “But I was a Jew two weeks ago.”
One day, she remembers, she was playing with her best friend Sylvia when a man in a full-length leather jacket knocked on the door and demanded the key to the synagogue library. Marie told him he was scaring the children and asked him to leave. Decades later, Zimbler would recognize the visitor as Adolf Eichmann — the Nazi official in charge of deporting Jews to concentration camps.
The horror came to a head at dawn on Nov. 10, 1938, when Zimbler awoke to panicked whispers. More than a dozen adults were gathered in her living room; she heard someone say, “Take the kids out of here.”
By that evening, she witnessed what would become known as Kristallnacht: stores and businesses destroyed, “men and boys ripped from their homes.”
Those included her father, who, along with her housekeeper, was arrested and hauled into the police station. He was one of 30,000 men and boys rounded up for concentration camps in the direct aftermath of Kristallnacht. Most were slaughtered, but Markus was one of the lucky ones: At Dachau, 300 miles west of Austria, the Nazis put him to work processing paper, then released him a few days later.
Meanwhile, Zimbler, her mother and her brother were staying with a family friend in Vienna, barred from re-entering their home. “The Nazis decided they wanted to close it off,” she says. “They decided to shut us out.” When they were finally allowed to return 10 days later, it had been completely looted.
A few tense weeks later, Zimbler’s parents decided Austria was no longer safe for the children — and made the painful decision to send them abroad to an institutional camp, which countries outside Nazi control were setting up to save persecuted children.
A relative who took Zimbler and Walter to the train station told her, “Kiss the walls. You’re never going to see them again.” In December 1938, the siblings boarded a train packed with other children fleeing the pogroms in Central Europe. The ride would later become known as Kindertransport, or children’s train, for its young inhabitants. Although many of their fellow passengers were headed to Britain, the siblings disembarked in Holland, where they were sent to a government-donated manor home in the Hague. There, Dutch nurses took care of all the Jewish children, whose clothes were deloused upon arrival.
“We felt safe — sort of,” says Zimbler, who wrote letters to her parents and turned 11 that coming February. Meanwhile, her father was trying desperately to arrange passage for the family to America.
On Oct. 16, 1939 — six weeks after World War II officially broke out — Zimbler and Walter boarded a boat in Rotterdam and set sail for America. “There was no looking back,” she says.
After a 10-day journey, Zimbler and her brother arrived in Hoboken, NJ, on Oct. 26, 1939. There, they stayed with a family friend; their parents, miraculously also safe, joined them three weeks later.
The family then moved to Williamsburg, and Zimbler’s life gradually began to return to normal, or as normal as was possible. In 1950, at age 22, she graduated from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor of Arts degree; at 29, she met her husband, Milton Zimbler, a Bronx-born WWII vet, through family friends. They married in 1958 and moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan three years later.
In the mid-’90s, Zimbler’s adult daughter started asking her mom about her past. “[She] wanted to see where I came from and I was curious too. I wanted to show [her] where I had been and what I had done.” So they traveled together to Zimbler’s childhood home in Vienna — or what was left of it. “It’s a parking lot,” says Zimbler, who has two children and six grandchildren. She says the experience was painful, and that she “can’t forgive the people of Vienna. The Austrians are worse than the Germans, who at least try to make amends and give reparations.”
“Whether it’s religion or race, stand up and be strong,” Zimbler says. “Know who you are.”
Gabriella Major
Gabriella MajorSurvivor
Gabriella Major, a 2 ½ year old survivor of the Holocaust, was born in Hungary. In 1944, when the Nazis invaded Hungary, Gabriella, her mother and her grandmother were herded into the newly created ghetto in her home town, Debrecen. Her father was taken separately to perform forced labor in a labor camp. After a few months of horrible living conditions in the ghetto, they were squeezed into cattle cars heading to Auschwitz as the final destination. Through a stroke of luck, their transport was diverted ending up instead in a concentration camp in Strasshof, Austria. Gabriella and her mother miraculously survived through very tough times of disease, hunger, and filth. Her grandmother unfortunately did not survive. Most of her family perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

After liberation Gabriella and her mother found their way back to Hungary and got reunited with her father. Soon they returned to their home in Debrecen and started to build from the ashes. However, Communism set in and once again the family was persecuted due to their background and just because they were Jewish.

During the Hungarian Revolution in 1957, Gabriella prevailed on her family to flee their country. They escaped to Austria and eventually were able to enter the United States where they started a new life. Soon after her High School graduation, Gabriella got married to a physician, also a survivor from Debrecen, Hungary. Together they built a beautiful family of children and grandchildren.

Gabriella became a social worker helping people with mental, emotional, cognitive and physical disabilities.
Four years ago, Gabriella became a docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City, where she educates young people about the horrors and the lessons of the Holocaust. She also speaks about her experience to students of all ages, as well as, adults to ensure that we Never Forget this most horrific time in our history and do not allow history to repeat itself.

She is grateful (especially after the Holocaust) to have a large family of children and grandchildren, who give her much joy and happiness.

Peter SternSurvivor
Peter Stern was born in Nuremberg, Germany in March 1936. His father, Artur, was an auto mechanic and a vocational school instructor. His mother helped raise Peter and his younger brother, Sam, in a building that housed four other families and shared a kitchen. One of his first vivid memories was walking home with his father and stones were being thrown at them by a group of young boys not much older than him. Peter could not understand why this was happening or why people stood by and watched it happen.

In 1941, his family was deported from Germany to a holding camp in Latvia that was surrounded by frozen water, though no fences, guards patrolled the perimeter. In the spring of 1942, they were transferred to the Riga ghetto and were crammed into a room with other families. He remembers always being cold and from his window he could see people being moved onto trucks. Within a few weeks they moved to a small building outside the ghetto, and this is where Peter tried to learn his ABCs but at the same time learned about fear and death. He was six years old. His father continued to work as an auto mechanic for the Germans though he was not paid.

In the beginning of 1943, they were transferred to a work camp deeper in Russia. One day while working on a damaged electricity transformer, the Russian army attacked the camp and Artur saved a German officers life. This changed the course of the family’s experience. The officer arranged for the Stern family to be hidden in the Riga prison, rather than be returned to the ghetto. In January 1944 the family was once again put on a truck and deported back to Germany where Artur was imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp, where he died. Karolina, Sam, and Peter were transferred to Ravensbruck concentration camp and then, in the face of an Allied advance, moved to Bergen-Belsen. They were liberated by the British on April 15th, 1945 and were moved to buildings previously occupied by German soldiers.

Peter, Sam, and Karolina were moved back to Nuremberg, Germany in the fall of 1945 and lived in a building that was once a home for the Jewish elderly. From there they moved to a displaced persons camp in Munich, Germany and then another camp in Bremen. On January 7, 1947, they were able to immigrate to America with the help of distant relatives who lived in Atlanta, Georgia. They arrived in New York City on January 27th. In 1954 Peter graduated from high school, then attended University of Missouri and received a degree in metallurgical engineering. He is married and has two sons and grandchildren. Peter and his wife Julie recently moved to the Philadelphia area.

Ronnie Breslow
Ronnie BreslowSurvivor
Ronnie Reutlinger Breslow, formerly known as Renate Reutlinger, was born in Kircheim, Germany. She lived a normal life with her parents, who owned and operated a dry goods store located below their home. In April 1933, the Nazis passed the Law Against Overcrowding in German Schools. The law stated that Jews could not attend school with non-Jews. Ronnie’s friends abandoned her. The Nazis also passed laws that restricted non-Jews from buying goods at Jewish stores. Nazis marched back and forth in front of her parents’ store and the business suffered greatly for the soldiers’ presence. With no business and no school, Ronnie’s family knew they had to leave Germany. Passports were hard to obtain and passage on a ship became even more difficult to obtain since thousands were fleeing the country. A single ticket to Cuba became available and the family decided that Ronnie’s father should go since men were in the most danger. Ronnie and her mother would follow on the next boat. They boarded a ship called the St. Louis on May 13, 1939 and sailed for Cuba with 936 other Jews.
Cuba refused to allow the St. Louis to dock. After many weeks adrift at sea, Ronnie and her mother wound up in Holland. They were placed in Rotterdam West, a detention camp, where children stayed in separate buildings from their parents, and were always cold and hungry. Ronnie’s mother discovered that the Camp Commander was an avid stamp collector and gave him her daughter’s collection to gain passage for both of them to the United States where Ronnie’s father was waiting. After they left, others at that camp were moved to the Westbrook, a transit camp, were deported and died. The stamp collection had saved their lives. Ronnie now speaks to students and adults about her experience and says, “if we forget the lessons of the past, we are surely to allow history to repeat itself, if not with the Jews, with the Irish, the Italians, the Africans, the Americans. Let us not forget.”
Mrs. Breslow is a member of the Speakers Bureau of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia, and a senior member of the JCRC Board of Directors.
Ruth Hartz
Ruth HartzSurvivor
Ruth Hartz was a four-year-old, hidden child during the Holocaust in southern France. During that time she had to change her name to Renee to hide her Jewish identity.

In addition to being sheltered by an ordinary French farm family, she spent six months in a small Catholic convent to avoid capture by both the Vichy French Police and the Gestapo. When informants told the authorities that the nuns were hiding Jewish children, the Mother Superior was forced to lie to keep Ruth and the other children safe. Only the Mother Superior knew that the children were Jewish. The other nuns thought they were just orphans. Ruth remembers that the convent had blue windows so authorities could not see inside, and that the chapel had a trap door where the children would hide when hunted.

Through unusual good fortune, Ruth and her parents survived the war and returned to Paris shortly thereafter. Ruth eventually graduated from the Sorbonne University with a degree in Biochemistry. In 1958, she came to the United States where she married and raised a family. She became a teacher of French language, literature, and culture at the Springside School in Philadelphia where she worked for 22 years.

In 1999, she published her childhood memoir, Your Name is Renée, and in 2005, a French translation, Tu t’appelles Reneé. She is also the director and producer of “A Legacy of Goodness,” a DVD about her rescuers.

Maritza Shelley
Maritza ShelleySurvivor
Maritza Shelley was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1928. The 91-year-old remembered the way that religious divisions were enforced in her city even before the war, starting with children on the playground. When a newcomer arrived at school, the first thing the children in her class would do was determine their religion, she said. After that, the kids stuck to their own religious groups, rarely developing close relationships with children of other faiths.
After the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, Shelley and her sister were selected to perform forced labor in grueling conditions, digging ditches to try to stop Soviet tanks from entering Budapest. She was allowed to return to the city’s Jewish ghetto briefly and reunite with her mother ― but a roundup occurred, and Budapest’s Jews were sent on a death march to a concentration camp, she said.
Through the boldness and quick-thinking of her mother, they were able to reunite with Shelley’s sister during the death march, escape by hiding under a bridge when the soldiers were not watching, and hitchhike back to Budapest with a Nazi convoy ― somehow convincing the Germans that they were not Jewish. The family used false papers to stay in Budapest until the end of the war.
Shelley emphasized that the anti-Semitism emerging in the U.S. today cannot be compared to the systemic, organized mass atrocities perpetuated against Jews during the Holocaust.
“The extermination of the Jews was on such a mass scale, it was relentless, it was so sudden with no place to escape,” she said. “It’s true that there were incidents of anti-Semitism and pogroms in the past but when we talk about the Holocaust that was different.”
Shelley moved to New York City in 1947. She said she has experienced anti-Semitism in this country, but that it was mostly verbal and not as violent as what is happening today. When she first heard about the Pittsburgh massacre, Shelley said she had a hard time accepting that it was real. Hearing about vandalism at synagogues and on school campuses breaks her heart, she said.
“I’m convinced that all this has to do with the general atmosphere in the country since the last election,” Shelley said. “That people who do these acts feel encouraged or feel free to do the acts.”
For most of her life, only close family members knew about Shelley’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor. But recently, she has felt compelled to share her story with the world, specifically with people who are not Jewish.
Shelley often speaks to students visiting New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, telling them what she had witnessed and experienced during the Holocaust. She encouraged the teens to not only make friends from other faiths, but to also learn more about those traditions ― perhaps by attending a seder with a Jewish friend or fasting with a Muslim friend for Ramadan.
Despite everything she’s witnessed, Shelley is still hopeful about the future.
“I’m an optimist, in spite of everything,” she said.
Lois Flamholz
Lois FlamholzSurvivor
Lois Flamholz (nee Weiss) was born in Zdenova, Czechoslovakia, where she lived with her parents, sister and two brothers. In 1939, the Hungarians took over control of the surrounding area and in 1944; German SS soldiers entered the town and ordered the Hungarian police to round up all the Jews. They were sent to a ghetto in an abandoned brick factory in Munkach, where they stayed for 6 weeks, after which the Jews, including Lois’s family, were loaded into cattle cars and transported by train to Auschwitz. When they exited the train, Dr. Mengele was there. As each person exited the train, he pointed at them to go left or right. Lois was sent in one direction and was separated from the rest of her family forever.

After 5 weeks at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Lois was sent to a nearby work camp. In late January 1945, as the Russian army approached, the entire Auschwitz camp complex was evacuated. On February 1, 1945, Lois’s work camp was evacuated, and she and her fellow prisoners were forced to join the “Death March” to Bergen-Belsen in Germany, which began a six-week ordeal.

In April 1945, British troops liberated the camp. The Red Cross sent Lois and three surviving cousins to Sweden. Through a remarkable set of circumstances, Lois’s uncle, then living in New York, managed to locate her in Sweden and arranged for her to come to the U.S. in 1948.

Lois moved to New York where she met her future husband, Sol. The two were married and raised two sons and a daughter.

Lois remains active in the Monroe Township Jewish community, and regularly speaks about her holocaust experience at schools and other institutions.

Alan Moskin
Alan MoskinLiberator
Alan Moskin was born in Englewood, New Jersey, on May 30, 1926. He attended Syracuse University both before and after his military service in World War II and graduated in May, 1948. He then attended New York University Law School, graduating with a J.D. degree in June 1951. He practiced law as a civil trial attorney in New Jersey for over 20 years and subsequently worked in the private business sector until he retired in 1991.

Alan presently resides in Nanuet, New York and speaks extensively to Middle School and High School students as well as a variety of other audiences in Rockland, Westchester, Bergen, Orange, and Fairfield Counties and elsewhere about his experiences as an infantry combat soldier and a “Concentration Camp” liberator.

Alan has two grown daughters and six grandchildren. He presently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Holocaust Museum and Study Center and is also commander of the Rockland/Orange District Council of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.

ECTV Survivor Presentations

In addition to the ten webinar presentations, ECTV and Mark Migliore graciously provided us with links on their YouTube page to view various testimonies from our HERC film archives. These taped testimonies capture the spirit of the survivors and their devotion to sharing their lives with our students. Presentations featured: Sol Lurie, Paulette Wegh, and Sonia Goldstein, and Anneliese Nossbaum.

Conclusion

There are many thanks due to many people: 

Executive Director of the Federation: Mark Silverberg 

Federation staff: Mary Ann Mistysyn, Secretary, and Dolores Gruber, Office Manager

Board of Trustee President: Esther Adelman 

Board of Trustees

Planning Committee / Panelists: Esther Adelman, Kim Bochicchio, Kathy Byron, Katheryn Bekanich, Bill Burke, Carol Burke, Jim Connors, Susie Connors, Mark Davis, David Fallk, Christina Finn, Natalie Gelb, Seth Gross, Sheryl Gross, Michele Janowicz, Auntie Kane, David Malinov, Phyllis Malinov, Basya Marcus, JoAnn Martarano, Marie Merkel Gail Neldon, Reece Oslinker, Ann Marie Piccini, Marion Poveromo, Arlene Rudin, Roberta Sandler, Barbara Sirotkin, John Stagen, Kelly Stagen, Michael Washo, Pam Weiss and Ann Marie Zenie. 

Guest Presenters: Ronnie Breslow, Lois Flamholz, Daniel Goldsmith, Ruth Hartz, Gabriella Major, Mark Schonwetter, Maritza Shelley, Peter Stern, and Ruth Zimbler all survivors of the Holocaust as well as WWII veteran and Liberator Alan Moskin. 

The Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center along with their President, Chuck Feldman, Education Program Director, Geoff Quinn, and Dr. Ruth Almy. 

The Museum of Jewish Heritage with Joanna Arruda, Manager of the Speakers Bureau.

As always, we would like to extend a very special thank you to all school superintendents, principals, and teachers, who remain committed to this program.

We sincerely hope that we have given thanks to the many people who made this event possible. If a name was inadvertently left out, please accept our most sincere apologies and our gratitude.

Finally, as we close the page of the 2021 Virtual Teen Symposium, the Holocaust Education Resource Center and the Federation remain forever committed to the teaching and learning of the lessons of the Holocaust, to promote the right of all people to be treated with dignity and respect, and to encourage students to speak up and act against all forms of bigotry and prejudice. 

The Holocaust is a reminder of the way hate can infect society and the dangers of indifference. History teaches us that lives can be saved if people care enough to act.

“Indifference is the greatest sin in the world. There will always be evil people, but they will count on the indifference of others. The challenge that the Holocaust is to all of us is never to be indifferent. Never to be a bystander.” E. Weisel 

Memory is what shapes us…Memory is what teaches us. We must never forget.

It is our hope that the Jewish Federation of NEPA and the Holocaust Education Resource Center will be able to host the 34th Annual Teen Symposium in 2022 scheduled for Tuesday, May 10th and Wednesday, May 11th at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center.

Student Reflections on the 33rd Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust

“The story of how Alan Moskin liberated a concentration camp in Germany really helped me to develop a deeper understanding of the terrible conditions of Nazi concentration camps, and of the horrible crimes committed by the Nazis.”

“This was really intense and kind of makes me angry that this could even happen.  That was extremely graphic too, which certainly helped me understand how bad the Holocaust was.”

About the Author: