• Synopsis: “Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz”

    Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz

    Check out the Trailer!

    Armenia, the Holocaust, Uganda, Cambodia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, Syria, Myanmar. The list of atrocities against humanity in our time is tragically long, and incomprehensible.

    Barry Avrich’s gripping documentary PROSECUTING EVIL: THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD OF BEN FERENCZ tells the fascinating story of one man’s lifelong quest for justice for victims of crimes against humanity – a concept Ferencz was instrumental in developing after The Nuremberg Trials post-World War II.

    A true visionary, a key architect of the international war crimes system and passionate advocate for peace, Ben Ferencz has lived a remarkable life. At 98 years old, the last living lead prosecutor at The Nuremberg Trials remains an active and unstoppable force for justice in an unjust world. He’s witnessed and influenced the most consequential chapters of the last 70 years – from liberating war camps and investigating Nazi war crimes, to acting, at 27 years old, as the Chief Prosecutor for the U.S. Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trials at Nuremberg and successfully advocating for the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Through it all he’s never wavered in his vision of a world that finds peace through the force of law, not the force of war.

    There’s nothing in Ben Ferencz’s earliest years to suggest the trajectory his life would take, and the history he would make. The son of Romanian immigrants fleeing anti-Semitism for New York City, Ferencz was born in 1920, and his small stature and poor English delayed his education. Nonetheless, he won a scholarship to Harvard Law School.

    Ferencz joined the U.S. Army serving in the 115th AAA Gun Battalion. In 1945, he was transferred to the headquarters of General Patton’s Third Army, and tasked with setting up a war crimes branch and collecting evidence. In this function, he was sent to the concentration camps as they were liberated by the U.S. Army. His assignment was to collect all the evidence of the crimes for future trials. The first camp he hit was Buchenwald. What he saw traumatized him for the rest of his life and fueled his desire to see a world in which those responsible for crimes against humanity are held to account. He gathered enough incriminating evidence to prosecute 22 Einsatzgruppen Nazis, responsible for murdering over a million people – a trial of which he was the lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. Called the biggest murder trial in history, Ferencz was only 27 years old, and it was his first case.

    After the trials, Ferencz went on to advocate for restitution for Jewish victims of the Holocaust and later the establishment of the International Criminal Court. He also published several books on this subject. Already in his first book published in 1975, entitled Defining International Aggression-The Search for World Peace, he argued for the establishment of such an international court. In 2009, Ferencz was awarded the Erasmus Prize, the award is given to individuals or institutions that have made notable contributions to European culture, society, or social science. In April 2017, the municipality of The Hague announced that the city will honor Benjamin Ferencz by naming the footpath next to the Peace Palace after him as “one of the figureheads of international justice”.

    PROSECUTING EVIL includes a treasure trove of archival footage and photos that bring Ferencz’s world to life. The film was shot in Toronto, New York City, Nuremberg, The Hague, Delray Beach Florida, Chicago and Ottawa. It features interviews with top minds working in the fields of human and civil rights and international justice including Alan Dershowitz, Justice Rosalie Abella, General Wesley Clark (Ret.), David Scheffer, first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues; Richard Dicker, Director, Human Rights Watch International Justice Program; Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court and Don Ferencz who has followed in his father’s footsteps as an attorney and international justice educator.

    Ferencz’s relentless vision, and his message in PROSECUTING EVIL is that there is little sense in denouncing aggression, terrorism, and other crimes against humanity unless these offenses became part of an accepted international criminal code enforced by an international court that delivers a structure for peace. Ferencz believes that if law trumps war, you could change the world. His mantra remains “Law not war”

  • Press Release: HMTC Presents Trafficked in the Heartland

    The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Presents Trafficked in the Heartland: A Survivor’s Experience Sunday, September 22, 2019, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Glen Cove, NY… The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC) presents Trafficked in the Heartland: A Survivor’s Experience, a presentation by Christine C. McDonald on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 1:00 at HMTC, Welwyn Preserve, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY 11542.

    Christine Clarity McDonald is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and consultant known for her unique ability to construct conversations and ignite change for under-served and marginalized population.  After experiencing two decades of homelessness, addiction, and human sex trafficking, Christine found a way out as she fought to find her place in life.  Christine uses her lived experience as a tool to break stigmas, construct conversations for change, and improve the way healthcare professionals work with the victims of human trafficking.

    Christine, who has received numerous honors and awards, is the author of Cry Purple: One Woman’s Journey through Homelessness, Crack Addiction and Prison to Blindness, Motherhood, and Happiness.  She has also been featured nationally on various media outlets and sits on multiple local, state-wide, and international boards and committees.

    Christine is presenting her story to HMTC in conjunction with “Lessons of the Holocaust: Ethics and Diversity for Nurses and Nursing Students,” an HMTC program that provides diversity training and teaches practical nursing ethics by looking at the lessons of the Holocaust and the role that healthcare providers played during that time period.

    $10 Suggested donation to attend.  Light refreshments will be served. Seats are limited; reservations are recommended.  RSVP to (516) 571-8040 or info@hmtcli.org

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  • Press Release: HMTC Joins New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas at a Press Conference Announcing New Anti-Hate Legislation Tuesday, August 13, 2019

     

    The Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County Joins New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas at a Press Conference Announcing New Anti-Hate Legislation

    Tuesday, August 13, 2019

    (L to R) New York State Assemblywoman Judy Griffin; HMTC Director of Education Helen Turner; Nassau County Executive Laura Curran; HMTC Chairman Steven Markowitz; Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas; New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky; New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine; Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen; and New York State Senator Kevin Thomas at the Press Conference on Tuesday, August 13, 2019

    Glen Cove, NY… Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC) Chairman Steven Markowitz and Director of Education Helen Turner joined New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, other state and local officials, and members of various social justice organizations at a press conference to announce a new bill mandating instruction regarding symbols of hate such as the swastika and the noose be incorporated into the curricula for grades six through twelve.  This bill comes in response to a rise in hate crimes in 2019 after a steady three-year decrease on Long Island.  D.A. Singas has worked with HMTC to help educate youth offenders who have committed antisemitic hate crimes on the history of the Holocaust and use of the swastika by Nazi Germany as well as how these hate crimes can quickly escalate; offending youth also have the opportunity to meet with a Holocaust Survivor and hear testimony from him or her on his or her experience during the Holocaust.

    HMTC was invited to join the press conference as one of the only providers of educational programs specifically on hate symbols. “We are looking forward to working with Senator Kaminsky, Senator Kaplan, Assemblyman Lavine and others and with the Department of Education so we can be part of the solution to this terrible problem” commented HMTC Chairman Steven Markowitz.  HMTC currently works with other tolerance institutions around the country to help them develop their curriculums in this area.

    In August of 2017, HMTC’s Director of Education Helen Turner developed a unique program titled “Deconstructing Symbols of Hate” in direct response to an increasing number of requests from schools to deal with swastikas, nooses, and other symbols of hate.  “Deconstructing Symbols of Hate” has several components: students are taught the history behind these symbols of hate, the impact that these symbols have on Holocaust Survivors and other victims of hate crimes and anti-bias incidents, and, finally, how to stand up when they see acts of intolerance.  The program has been utilized across Long Island as both a response to bias and hate incidents and as a preventative measure by a wide variety of schools.  HMTC has served over 4,000 students with this program and anticipates that number to increase this school year.

    If any member of the press would like to observe this program please contact Samantha Shuart at (516)571-8040 x119 or sshuart@hmtcli.org.  Deconstructing Symbols of Hate is offered for students in grades 8 through 12.  Schools interested in booking a program should contact Breanne Brooks at (516)571-8040 x 103 or bbrooks@hmtcli.org.

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  • A Volunteer’s Experience

    I became involved with HMTC about 4 years ago. I’m a retired teacher and I’ve always loved working with children. I am also the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Vienna, Austria, and I’ve always had an ongoing interest in books and films about the Holocaust, increasing my knowledge about this history over many decades.  Volunteering as a docent at HMTC was the perfect opportunity to combine those two aspects of my life. As my time here has evolved, I have become a docent as well as an educator in the Nursing and Law Enforcement programs. My work here has been extremely satisfying. I love working with both children and adults. It has been my experience that many of the people who come to our Center for programs or tours have limited knowledge about the Holocaust, and the opportunity to expand their knowledge base and to help them understand how the lessons of the Holocaust apply to situations that are occurring in our lives today has given me more joy and satisfaction than I could have anticipated. Our school programs are very intense and the highlight of these programs, without a doubt, is the testimony presented by a Holocaust survivor or a Second Gen (the daughter or son of a Holocaust survivor.) The response of the students at the conclusion of the testimony attests to the power of these personal and tragic eyewitness accounts.  I feel truly blessed to have found this important and meaningful volunteer position, working with other wonderful volunteers and the talented, knowledgeable, and compassionate staff at the Center.

    -HMTC Docent

    To learn more about becoming a volunteers please call (516)571-8040.

     

  • A Muslim Woman Speaks Out for Holocaust Acceptance and Tolerance

    The views expressed in this article do not represent the opinions of HMTC.

    “…through others’ sufferings … we can often hear the voice of empathy and compassion.” – Mehnaz Afridi

    Appalled by the Islamophobia after 9/11, I hungered after books, workshops, and seminars to learn about Muslims and their religion. At one seminar, I met Rabbi Reuven Firestone, an authority on Islam.  He encouraged me to meet his good Muslim friend, Mehnaz Afridi, soon to head-up the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at the Catholic Manhattan College. Weeks later, Mehnaz and I met, spent several hours in intense conversation, and, among other things, talked of her desire to write a book about Muslim Shoah denial.

    Somehow our paths diverged after that and years passed until I listened, once again,  to her passionate words last Spring as keynote speaker at our Center’s Yom Ha’Shoah commemoration. After her presentation, I re-met her and bought her book which fulfilled her long-standing dream, ”Shoah Through Muslim Eyes.”  Upon purchase, I vowed to study it and write an article to support her sorely-needed struggle.

    Mehnaz introduces the volume by describing her unusual and varied background which prepared the ground for her life’s work.  Born in Pakistan to Indian refugee parents, she lived in Europe from age four, later moved to Dubai, and eventually came to the US in 1984.  During these years she met people of all faiths, and her parents helped her develop a passion for Islam as a religion of peace, justice, and tolerance.  Both elements of her background fueled a deep desire to understand “the other.’

    With her multi-cultural perspective and compassionate values, Mehnaz recoiled in disgust when she learned of the extreme contrast between the horrors of the Shoah and the silence and relativism of the Muslim community’s response.  This contrast “screamed out” at her and implored her to take action, notwithstanding the personal suffering caused by isolation and condemnation from many Muslims.

    The exploration of this widespread Muslim Shoah denial and trivialization Mehnaz initiates by highlighting a revealing incident.  Moments before speaking at an interfaith panel, an intelligent Muslim woman from McGill University, acquainted with Mehnaz’ work, accosted her, asking, “… isn’t it accurate that only two thousand Jews died in the Holocaust?”  This incident etched into  Mehnaz’ memory  because it epitomized the blunted sensibilities of many Muslims to Jewish deaths and adamant refusal to accept the established figure of six million.

    Two misplaced beliefs of many Muslims, explains Mehnaz, formed the genesis of this denial. After World War II, western powers, such as Britain and the US, gave Jews an illegally created homeland in Palestine as a present because of their suffering in the Shoah and to assuage western guilt.  Jews have compounded this injustice by exaggerating the Shoah death toll to gain western sympathy for the existence and expansion of Israel.  These widely circulated myths, amplified by Muslim politics and coupled with long-standing negative Jewish stereotypes, have distorted Muslim reality of the Shoah.

    Troubled by this toxic condition, Mehnaz embarked on several efforts toward reconciliation.    Misinformation and forgotten history, one source of the problem, she addresses by educating that Mohammed was friendly toward Jews, conversed with them about religion, appreciated their belief in one God, and commanded Muslims to accept Jews as People of the Book.    She continues this positive focus by illuminating the lost history of the once flourishing Jewish-Muslim partnership, where they lived, worked, and learned from each other, sharing food, language, music, and religious ceremonies.

    To help understand “the other,” she interviewed Shoah survivors.  The Quranic verse, “Do not withhold any testimony or be concealing what you had witnessed,” (2:238) inspired her to   bear witness to the pain and suffering through personal encounters with the victims.  “Witnessing the story of the survivors had impacted me deeply” ,reflected Mehnaz after the interviews. There were nights I lay on my bed thinking of the humanity in their stories and dehumanization of men, women, and children.  I have been a witness.”  As a stranger and a Muslim woman, she felt particularly honored to hear their horrific experiences, and listen, laugh, cry, and connect deeply with them.

    On another front, Mehnaz wanted to build bridges by changing Arab-Muslim understanding about their involvement in the Shoah.  Most Muslims, she decries, hear only the Arab narrative about the Shoah which largely ignores any Arab role.  To ameliorate this inaccurate and damaging view, she presents the complete Arab-Muslim Shoah story.  This includes the many Muslims in Turkey, the Balkans, and especially Albania who rescued Jews as well as the collaborators, bystanders, rescuers and victims in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Libya under German and collaborationist Vichy government. Muslims need to realize, asserts Mehnaz, that they, too, were part of the story of the Shoah, not simply observers.

    Despite her strenuous efforts and those of others to heal the wounds, Mehnaz warns the hatred between the two groups is higher than ever. In addition to her previously mentioned undertakings, she urges a deeper, twin-path out of this worsening cycle of intolerance. This would entail helping Muslims accept historical Jewish suffering and the Shoah and dismantling mutual negative stereotypes. If achieved, it would open the door for increased connection and respect.

    Although it may be necessary to reverse the negative downward spiral, striving for Shoah truth and improved understanding of “the other” can be risky, as Mehnaz shows in the example of Mohammed Dajani.  A Palestinian Professor, removed from Al-Quds University, Dajani received death threats and his car set on fire after taking his students to Auschwitz in an effort to teach empathy and tolerance.  As Dajani says, “You need to understand the other because reconciliation is the only option we have…empathizing with our enemy does not mean you sanction what your enemy is doing to you.” Dajani as well other upstanders cited in the book compel us, despite the risks, to take constructive action.

    As part of this constructive action, with bravery and wisdom, our Center chose to honor Mehnaz Afridi.  By struggling at great personal cost to preserve the truth of Shoah history, fighting against strong headwinds to educate about its vital lessons, and promulgating harmony in place of enmity, she more than deserved this prominence and the opportunity to propagate her message.  From the vantage point of our Center, Mehnaz increased our grasp of Muslim Shoah denial and motivated us to find solutions for a way forward.

    I hope many more Muslims, Jews, and others recognize Mehnaz’ work, reflect on her ideas, and most importantly, use this as a spur for healing action, which would be the greatest tribute we could pay her.

    By Frank Miller-Small

     

  • Learn About Our Actor!

    Learn all about Bob Spiotto, creative/artistic/management professional, who will be performing his one-man performance of But When We Started Singing..., based on the life and works of Holocaust Survivor Primo Levi, at HMTC on Sunday, June 9, 2:00 PM.

    ROBERT “Bob” SPIOTTO is a creative/artistic/management professional – (Arts Administrator, Artistic/Executive, Producer, Director, Creative/Special Event Director, Community/Cultural/Engagement Director, Arts Consultant, Coach, Actor, Educator, Writer, and Public Speaker, who has worked in arts and entertainment for more than 30 years. Mr. Spiotto holds a B.F.A. in Theater Performance from Hofstra University and a M.F.A. in Directing from The Catholic University of America.

    Mr. Spiotto is currently the Director of Programs/Special Events at New York’s famous Friars Club.  Previously, he served as the first Executive/Artistic Director of the historic Suffolk Theater (theater/restaurant/bar), prior to which he worked at Hofstra University (1990-2012) as Executive Producer/Artistic Director for Hofstra Entertainment; Artistic Director of Community Arts Programs for the Hofstra Cultural Center (music, theater, cultural, original programming), and Director/Producer of Special Events (festivals, conferences, public programs).  He served on the faculty of Hofstra’s School of Continuing Education, taught classes for Hofstra’s Summer Camps, and was an adjunct professor in their School of Communication as well as Hofstra’s New College. Mr. Spiotto has received awards from Hofstra University for his distinguished service and teaching accomplishments.

    As Director of the International Concert Series and the Theater Series for the Hofstra University Cultural Center, in addition to 18 years as Entertainment Producer for Hofstra’s International Festivals, Mr. Spiotto possess a great deal of experience producing unique and very diverse performances.  Additionally, he also has experience working with Theater For Young Audiences, as well as working directly with young performers.  He has also created and/or produced many unique and original shows, as well as webinars, and has consulted for various groups and organizations including the National Museum of Women in the Arts (D.C.), The Coalition on Child Abuse and Neglect, The Nassau County Bar Association, The Order/Sons of Italy in America, The Long Island Arts Alliance, and the March of Dimes, to name a few.

    Mr. Spiotto has worked extensively as an arts administrator, producer, director, and consultant, as well as an actor and teacher in the New York, Long Island and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas.  An adjunct professor in the Suffolk Community College Theater Department, Mr. Spiotto has also served locally as an artistic consultant for the Stamford Center for the Arts (CT), the Long Island Arts Alliance, the Sayville School District and the Freeport School District, among others.

    In addition to his many accomplishments, he has directed hundreds of theater productions at various regional and professional theaters, schools and universities, as well as for various organizations and companies.

    Regional acting credits include M.C. (Cabaret), John Adams (1776), Guido (Nine,), Tateh (Ragtime), The Cat in the Hat (Seussical), Fagin (Oliver), Ganesha (A Perfect Ganesh), and Bill (Me and My Girl), to name a few.  He toured the tri-state area and created the character of “The King of Pizza,” based on the popular children’s book.  Additionally, he has created and appeared in numerous one-man shows exploring the lives of P.T. Barnum, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Primo Levi, Michelangelo, Sholom Aleichem, and others. A trio of his critically acclaimed one-man musical tributes include That’s Amore:  A Tribute to Mr. Hollywood Musical – Harry Warren, Shades of Grey: A Musical Tribute to Joel Grey, and Courting the Jester: A Salute to Danny Kaye, which was re-worked and presented at Lincoln Center.  He also created and performed in original musical reviews for President George Bush, as well as for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  In 2011, he received outstanding reviews for his direction of the off-Broadway production of Harry and Eddie: The Birth of Israel.

    Mr. Spiotto was appointed by New York Governor George Pataki to serve on the Board of the New York State Theater Institute, and has also served on the Boards of the Long Island Arts Council, the National Organization for Women’s Safety Awareness and the Hannah Kroner Legacy Foundation.

    Among his many awards and honors, Mr. Spiotto was a recipient of the Dante Award (American Association of Teachers of Italian), awarded to him for his unique contributions to Italian-American culture; was honored by the NYS Commission for Social Justice; received the Estabrook Distinguished Service Award (Hofstra University); received the highest honor awarded by the Long Island Arts Council (ARTY Award); was honored by the Long Island Chapter of the March of Dimes as an Educator of the Year; and was named as an Advocate for the Arts by the Long Island Arts Council.

    Bob Spiotto’s limitless energy, creativity, knowledge, passion, dedication and experience, combined with his outstanding record of achieved success, as well as his reputation, professional history, resources, talent, integrity and humor, make him an incredible asset to any organization. The unmistakable quality of his work, in addition to his stellar administrative, artistic and management skills, have secured him a well respected place in the field.

  • All About One Clip at a Time

    One Clip at a Time

    “Changing the world… one class at a time.”

    Free In-Service/Professional Development Summer Workshop

    Are you ready to change the world?
    Then we are ready to help! If you are an educator looking to experience something truly beautiful and educationally compelling…if you are looking to make a lasting difference in your life as an educator and in the live’s of your students, then you should register now for our Free One Clip Summer Institute.

    One Clip at a Time is a non-profit organization based in Chattanooga, Tennessee that has created an engaging and interactive Social Studies/English/Service Learning Program based on the theme of tolerance and diversity and an accompanying educator’s kit designed to motivate and empower students. The Program crosses the curriculums and is standards based. The movement is an outgrowth of the “Paper Clip Project,” which brought worldwide attention to Whitwell, Tennessee after it was captured in the award-winning film, Paper Clips. Throughout the course of the program, students learn the history of the tragedy of the Holocaust and develop an awareness of the impact it had on the world. Students then discover ways to make positive changes in their own classrooms and communities and are encouraged to continually make a difference.

    • This two-day session will be conducted by One Clip/Three Village Educators, Irene Berman and Kate Hunter and will be held at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County in Glen Cove, New York, Tuesday,  July 16 and Wednesday, July 17, 2019.  (9:00 am to 3:00 pm)
    • The first day of the session will include training on the One Clip curriculum, a tour of the museum, and a video conference with the President of One Clip at a Time .
    • The second day will include action planning and implementation, and a survivor testimonial.
    • A conference fee of $400 will be waived for all participating educators
    • The conference includes lunch both days
    • Travel back and forth to Glen Cove can be made easier by carpooling together!
    • Attendees will receive their own One Clip Kit, which includes a copy of the Paper Clips film, an informational CD, detailed lesson plans, student journals and primary source documents.
    • The Institute addresses the requirements of the Dignity Act directly as well as Common Core Standards.

    *Space is limited.  Session will be filled on first-come first-served basis.

    So, register today!  Grab a colleague or two, to share an educational journey that will begin in your heads and, no doubt, end in your hearts!

    ****Register Today at www.oneclipatatime.org

  • Press Release: “While There’s Life…”

    The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Presents

    While There’s Life…

    Poetry Reading and Book Signing by Ruth Minsky Sender

    Sunday, May 19, 2019, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

     

    Ruth Minsky Sender

    Glen Cove, NY… The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC) presents While There’s Life…  A poetry reading and book signing of by Holocaust survivor and author/poet Ruth Minsky Sender at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.  Sunday, May 19, 2019, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    The poems in her newest collection, While There’s Life…: Poems from the Mittelsteine Labor Camp (1944-1945), were written during Mrs. Minsky Sender’s incarceration as prisoner #55082 in the Nazi slave labor camp in Mittelsteine Germany.  She endeavored to depict scenes from her and other prisoners’ lives to give them courage and the will to continue living.

    Ruth Minsky Sender was born Rifkele Riva Minska to a Jewish family in Łodź, Poland.  After the war she and her family emigrated to the United States, settling on Long Island.  Mrs. Minsky Sender was a teacher of Jewish culture and history, specializing in the Holocaust.  She has written four other books about her Holocaust experiences including The Cage (1986).

    $10 Suggested donation to attend.  Light refreshments will be served. Seats are limited; reservations are recommended.  RSVP to (516) 571-8040 or info@hmtcli.org

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  • Press Release: But When We Started Singing…

     The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Presents But When We Started Singing… A One-Man Performance Inspired By Primo Levi Conceived and Performed by Bob SpiottoSunday, June 9, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

    Bob Spiotto as Primo Levi

    Glen Cove, NY… The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC) presents, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Primo Levi, But When We Started Singing…  The performance will take place on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at 2:00 p.m at Welwyn Preserve, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY 11542.  This one-man performance, conceived and performed by Bob Spiotto, is inspired by the life and poetry of Holocaust survivor and world renowned author and poet and Italian-Jew, Primo Levi (1919-1987).

    Robert “Bob” Spiotto is a creative/artistic/management professional who has worked in arts and entertainment for more than 30 years. He holds a B.F.A. in Theater Performance from Hofstra University and a M.F.A. in Directing from The Catholic University of America.  Mr. Spiotto is currently the Director of Programs/Special Events at New York’s famous Friar’s Club.  Previously, he served as the first Executive/Artistic Director of the historic Suffolk Theater (theater/restaurant/bar), prior to which he worked at Hofstra University (1990-2012) as Executive Producer/Artistic Director for Hofstra Entertainment; Artistic Director of Community Arts Programs for the Hofstra Cultural Center (music, theater, cultural, original programming), and Director/Producer of Special Events (festivals, conferences, public programs).  He served on the faculty of Hofstra’s School of Continuing Education, taught classes for Hofstra’s Summer Camps, and was an adjunct professor in their School of Communication as well as Hofstra’s New College. Mr. Spiotto has received awards from Hofstra University for his distinguished service and teaching accomplishments.

    In addition to his many accomplishments, he has directed hundreds of theater productions at various regional and professional theaters, schools and universities, as well as for various organizations and companies.  He has also created and appeared in numerous one-man shown exploring the lives of P.T Barnum, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Primo Levi Michaelangelo, Sholom Aleichem, and others.  A trio of his critically acclaimed one-man musical tributes include That’s Amore:  A Tribute to Mr. Hollywood Musical – Harry Warren, Shades of Grey: A Musical Tribute to Joel Grey, and Courting the Jester: A Salute to Danny Kaye, which was re-worked and presented at Lincoln Center.

    Primo Levi was born in Turin, Italy in 1919, to a family of assimilated and fairly non-religious Jews with Spanish roots.  In 1943, he joined a band of partisans devoted to fighting Germans and Italian facists.  Levi spent 10 months at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz and was liberated in 1945.  In 1977 he retired from his position as manager of a chemical factory in Turin, devoting himself exclusively to writing until the time of his controversial death on April 11, 1987 in the apartment building where he was born and eventually took up residence.  Levi is known for his novels and poetry collections such as If This Is a Man, The Periodic Table, If Not Now, When,  and The Drowned and the Saved.

    $10 suggested donation to attend.  Light refreshments will be served. Seats are limited; reservations are recommended.  RSVP to (516) 571-8040 or info@hmtcli.org

  • “While There’s Life…” a Book Review by Marcia Posner

    WHILE THERE’S LIFE…

     by Ruth Minsky Sender

    After writing three books, all memoirs : “The Cage,”  “To Life,” (which you may borrow from our library) and “The Holocaust Lady,” Ruth Minsky Sender Sender has recently published a book of poems, mainly written after 1950.  They are poems of the deepest emotions and yes, perhaps trust too. “Each poem is a delicate work of art.” wrote one reviewer. Most have been translated from the Yiddish and a few from the  Polish, during her  incarceration in the Mittelsteine Slave Labor Camp (1944-1945).  She wrote them in a little notebook given to her as a gift by the Nazi Commandant as a reward for entertaining the guards at Christmas, which all 400 Jewish slave labor girls were forced to do. Ruth would also read her poems each Sunday to the 50 other women sharing the room with her.

    Discussing the writing of poetry, has your heart ever been so heavy that you,too, wrote poetry to sustain yourself ? Ruth Minsky Sender was blessed to have a mother who managed to maintain hope, saying: “Where there is life is hope;” even in the camp, until she died. Perhaps that is why Ruth was able to pour out her feelings in poetry written secretly during her stay at the slave labor camp. They were not only poems of despair, but also of infinite wisdom and hope.  As one reviewer wrote: “While There’s Life . . .” is a volume that should be read and re-read by people of all faiths.  It is a portrait not just of survival, but of how one woman transformed her pain in humanity’s darkest hour into art. . . into life.”

    How fortunate are we, to be free, to be able to share, words so rare.  Hoorah, Ruth Minsky Sender. Welcome to HMTC.

    Mrs. Minsky Sender will be at HMTC on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 3:00 pm for a poetry reading and book signing.  Please RSVP to info@hmtcli.org or (516)571-8040. $10 suggested donation; light refreshments will be served.