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Thursday, December 22, 2016
This morning, I stood at attention as our select chorus sang the Star Spangled Banner. Looking at the flag in the middle school auditorium, I paused a moment to feel gratitude for growing up in a country where I have the right to define and redefine myself. I grew up believing I could become whoever I wanted to be. The flag stood tall, as did I. Thank goodness, I thought, that I live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
Friday, December 2, 2016
For six months this spring and summer, I had the pleasure of leading a team of staff and volunteers facilitating the beta run of New Dimensions in Testimony (NDT) from USC Shoah Foundation at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. I watched people of all ages approach the giant monitor displaying an image of Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, first with trepidation, then curiosity, then, at last, affection. Here are a few things that I learned about technology and humanity from the project.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Historical memory is dangerous. In times of crisis, its demons emerge, ugly, toxic, and potentially lethal. We saw it in Donetsk last week. Jews emerging from synagogue during Passover found themselves the target of a despicable anti-Semitic attack – new crisis, old anti-Semitism, which this time accused the Jews of acts of collaboration as far back as 1941.
Friday, May 5, 2017
I had interviewed dozens of Gabersdorf survivors, discovered there had been 10 other women’s slave labor camps in Trutnov, then Trautenau, Sudetenland and that the 5,000 Polish Jewish women trafficked to Trutnov were among the first to be imprisoned in Nazi camps and the last to be liberated, on May 8th--9th, 1945. Didn’t they deserve to be honored, too?
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
The school I teach at in Alberta, Canada, is considered a "unique setting" within our public school system. This means that our programming is designed to meet the complex learning, social and emotional needs of elementary children who exhibit extreme behavioral and emotional difficulties which impede their ability to be successful in school, community and home.
Friday, April 12, 2019
A friend and I recently enjoyed a lunch filled with laughter and gossip. It was, in other words, a perfectly normal work lunch. But when we were walking back to the USC campus from a nearby restaurant, something caught her eye that I didn’t notice. “Look,” she said. “That man is holding a machete.”
Monday, April 23, 2018
In my role as part of USC Shoah Foundation’s Education Department, I have the honor of working with our team members both in the United States and around the world to create localized educational content using genocide survivor testimony. As a former classroom teacher and a lifelong believer in the importance of experiential learning, I was fortunate to take part in three IWalks in Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czechia, and Warsaw, Poland while on a recent vacation.
Friday, July 18, 2014
On July 16 -17, 1942, over 13,000 Jews from Paris and its suburbs were rounded up by French police in the early morning hours and forcefully taken from their homes to both the Vélodrome d’Hiver, a winter cycling stadium in Paris, and to the Drancy internment camp.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Pinchas Gutter stepped onto the bimah at the Kiever Synagogue in Toronto, Canada, where for the 27th consecutive time he was about to lead the Yom Kippur services.  He stood tall in his white robe breathing deeply surrounded by eight white-clad Torah scrolls, each held by a leaders of the congregation.  The scrolls appear to jostle for position, their silver shields and finials glistening as PInchas intones the ancient supplication, 'Kol Nidrei'.  But on the bimah there are more than the eight men holding Torah scrolls, because gathered around him are also the ghosts of the Gerrer Hasidim o
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
The future of Polish-Israeli relations can be driven by compassion and forgiveness, or a retreat behind walls of fossilized antisemitism, essentialist prejudice, nationalistic egotism, and fear.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
About a year after I joined USC Shoah Foundation, I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre’s Holocaust Education Week in Toronto. The theme that year was about memory and they had graciously invited me, the new Director of Education, to discuss memory in the context of the Institute’s education platform IWitness and testimony-based education.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Film composer James Horner died when his single-engine plane crashed near Santa Barbara on June 22. Earlier this year, the Academy Award-winner worked with USC Shoah Foundation on a movie about a Holocaust survivor. These are the recollections of producer Leslie Wilson.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
I found as a teacher that the most challenging task when teaching about the Holocaust and genocide, is how to do it not using material that shocks the students to the point that they do not want to look at the content, study the history or listen to present day issues due to the emotional shut down that can occur.
Friday, August 5, 2016
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a Portuguese diplomat stationed in Bordeaux in the late 1930s who issued tens of thousands of visas to Jewish families, in direct violation of anti-Jewish laws instituted by Portugal’s fascist government at the time. For this act of resistance, Sousa Mendes faced trials and conviction, leaving him to live out the rest of his life in poverty and disgrace, and his 15 children scattered all over Europe and the U.S.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
The Visual History Archive enables its users to observe the history of political utilization of anti-Jewish prejudice since the beginning of the 20th century until the century's end. Teaching about the mechanisms of hatred and the real goals of the propagandists is of utmost importance especially in what used to be the Soviet Block, where the liberation from Nazi regime did not necessarily mean the end of anti-Jewish propaganda.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
As Hannah, in the novel The Devil's Arithmetic, needed to have a first-hand experience to fully understand the Holocaust; my students must be equipped with first-hand information, too. While they cannot "time travel" as Hannah does, they can hear from survivors to have a greater understanding of the Holocaust.
Monday, March 4, 2019
Last week a group of us from USC Shoah Foundation were in Guatemala with our testimony partner, the Foundation for Forensic Anthropology in Guatemala (FAFG). We attended the funeral of a Mayan man whose remains were recently exhumed by FAFG – 36 years after he disappeared during the genocide there.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
In January 2015, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Poland with other students, as a junior intern, for USC Shoah Foundation’s and Discovery Education’s Auschwitz: Past is Present program, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I adored my father and admired him greatly. Harold Eisenberg was a good man in every sense of the word. He spoke about his life in Opatow, Poland before World War II and even his experience during the Holocaust, but he also lived very much in the present, working hard to provide for his family. The business he started after the war became the foundation for much of our extended family’s success. I was named for his mother and his sister, who both perished in the Holocaust, and my father would often look at me tenderly and tell me how much I reminded him of his mother. 
Monday, May 7, 2018
In 2003, I and others were preparing for the opening of the Kigali Genocide Memorial to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda when a volunteer data collector emptied the contents of a brown manila envelope onto my desk. There on top of the pile of papers and photos was a photo of two little girls.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
This September a new school year will begin in Ukraine and the first lesson students be taught is “Ukraine is united" and the lesson will be devoted to state integrity of Ukraine. A tough issue for the country engrossed into an ongoing military conflict and terrorist attacks.
Friday, April 21, 2017
At this time of remembrance, I hope I am incorrect in thinking that public awareness of the Shoah is eroding. Information about this act of atrocity is still proliferating, so unawareness clearly cannot be attributed to absent knowledge. There is, in fact, an incredible amount of knowledge … and a growing reluctance to understand it.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Thousands of people came to Times Square on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and to demand the U.S. government recognize the slaughter of 1.5 million people as genocide.In a speech at the event, USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith said that the world must stand together speak for those who are not here to speak for themselves.
Friday, May 2, 2014
When I was a child, my grandfather often told me about the Second World War. While he sat next to me, coloring or teaching me letters of the alphabet, he would sneak in a story about his days in the Soviet army. He would tell me about his post as a commander of a marine unit and how his forces liberated an Austrian town under Nazi occupation.
Monday, April 21, 2014
In April 1994, the genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis officially began, even though the persecution and killing campaign had gone on for decades. In 100 days, close to 1 million women, children and men were slaughtered and tortured to death with machetes, metal sticks and knives.The conflict gained momentum when Belgium became the colonial power in Rwanda after Germany’s defeat in World War I, and further highlighted and reinforced the distinctions between Hutus and Tutsis.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
The Fourth of July has become an annual norm for me - filled with hot dogs and hamburgers, red white and blue. However, this year is a bit different for me. Working at USC Shoah Foundation has opened my eyes, and taught me that this holiday goes far beyond the parties and decorations.
Friday, February 9, 2018
Even absent this current era of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” the new Polish law making it a crime to point out Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust would be alarming.  But that it is occurring in today’s climate of demagoguery, heightened nationalism and ethnic tension – an unholy trio that threatens to metastasize on a global scale – is a troubling development. Poland’s effort has come under attack by Israel and stewards of Holocaust memory.
Monday, September 17, 2018
My father was born and raised in Sighet, Romania, just down the road from the Elie Wiesel's simple blue childhood home. When the Nobel laureate's house was spray-painted with antisemitic slurs this summer, it felt like an attack on my own familial history.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Over the last few days I’ve overheard my grandmother and father talk endlessly about Celia Tiano, an Auschwitz survivor from Salonika, Greece, their next-door neighbor on 7th Avenue -- a quiet block in the Hyde Park area of L.A., during the 1950s and 60s. After more than 40 years, my family has reconnected with Celia -- through testimony. We were able to make this connection because of a film project I had been working on for the Student Voices Short Film Contest.

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