• All the Horrors of War: A Jewish Girl, a British Doctor, and the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen

    All the Horrors of War: A Jewish Girl, a British Doctor, and the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen

    Sunday, May 17, 1:00pm

    On Sunday, May 17, HMTC will host a talk by Bernice Lerner about her new book All the Horrors of War, which describes the final years of WWII throuhg the lens of British military doctor H.L. Glyn Hughes, and Survivor Ruth Mermelstein (nee Rachel Genuth), Bernice Lerner’s mother.  The lives of Hughes and Mermelstein came together in Bergen-Belsen.  Ruth had survived Auschwitz and then endured a death march westward that led to the camp in Germany.  Meanwhile, the doctor had landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and marched eastward, eventually arriving at Bergen-Belsen with the liberating force of the British 11th Armored Division on April 15, 1945.

    Bernice Lerner’s talk will draw on her mother’s amazing and unbelievable narrative, and the testimony provided by Dr. Hughes at the war crimes trial of Josef Kramer, the commandant of Bergen-Belsen, and 44 other Nazi Guards.

    Seating is limited.  Please RSVP to (516)571-8040 or programs@hmtcli.org.  $10 suggested donation to attend.

  • Curator’s Corner: Lodz Working Papers

    Curator’s Corner: Lodz Working Papers

    Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 11:30AM

     

    Learn about the Lodz ghetto through the lens of one person’s working papers that are displayed in our gallery

     

    HMTC needs your support now more than everto enable us to continue to bring virtual educational programming to schools and the community.

    Please contact programs@hmtcli.org with any questions.

  • Commemorative Presentation on the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Dachau

    Commemorative Presentation on the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Dachau

    Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 1:00PM

     

     

    Thorin Tritter will present a program about the liberation of the Dachauh concentration camp on April 29, 1945, when soldiers in the 42nd and 45th Infantry Division saw first-hand the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp.

     

    HMTC needs your support now more than everto enable us to continue to bring virtual educational programming to schools and the community.

    Please contact programs@hmtcli.org with any questions.

  • Curator’s Corner: Nazi Children’s Book

    Curator’s Corner: Nazi Children’s Book

    Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 11:30AM

     

    Our Museum Director will present a short program about the pages of a German children’s book from the 1930’s that are displayed in our museum and show Nazi efforts to teach antisemitism to young children.

     

    HMTC needs your support now more than everto enable us to continue to bring virtual educational programming to schools and the community.

    Please contact programs@hmtcli.org with any questions.

  • PROGRAM CHANGE: Virtual Yom HaShoah Memorial Program

    Yom HaShoah Memorial Program

    Join the HMTC community for a 45-minute online program to commemorate the Holocaust and honor the millions of victims of Nazi atrocities. The program will include readings by descendants of survivors and victims.

    Please contact programs@hmtcli.org with any questions or concerns

    HMTC needs your support now more than ever to enable us to continue to bring virtual educational programming to schools and the community. 

  • Bagels and Bialys

    Bagels and Bialys

    Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 11:30AM

     

    Celebrate the end of Passover by joining HMTC’s Museum Director for a virtual discussion about the history of bagels and bialys, two foods that were brought to the United States from Eastern Europe in the years before the Holocaust.

     

    HMTC needs your support now more than everto enable us to continue to bring virtual educational programming to schools and the community.

    Please contact programs@hmtcli.org with any questions.

  • Curator’s Corner: Anti-Jewish Beer Stein

    Curator’s Corner: Anti-Jewish Beer Stein

    Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 11:00AM

     

    Join our Museum Director for a deep dive into the history of one object in the HMTC collection: an anti-Jewish beer stein made in Germany in the 1890’s

     

    HMTC needs your support now more than ever to enable us to bring virtual educational programming to schools and the community.

    Contact programs@hmtcli.org with any questions or concerns.

  • POSTPONED: Spring 2020 Yiddish Culture Series

    Spring 2020 Yiddish Culture Series

    Immigrant Foods, Memory and Assimilation: How Ethnic Cuisine Becomes Mainstream

    April 5, 2020, 1:00 PM
    Learn how bagels, samosas, and Chinese dumplings broke through ethic divisions to become mainstream favorites.  Presenters include Cindy Matte from Bagel Boss of Roslyn, Shirley Shing from the Chinese Center on Long Island, and Rahat Hossain from the Long Island Muslim Society.  Program includes food samples and encourages discussion.

     

    The Art of Marc Chagall: War and Peace Through Yiddish Eyes

    April 29, 2020 at 11:00 AM
    HMTC’s Scholar- in-Residence Dr. Linda Burghardt will present a slide show and lecture about the Russian-French artist Marc Chagall.  Dr. Burghardt will connect Chagall’s work to the world he lived in, including Tsarist Russia, Nazi controlled Europe, and post-war America.

     

    The Success and Abiding Power of Fiddler on the Roof

    May 3, 2020 at 1:00 PM
    Alisa Solomon, a professor at Columbia University’s School of Journalism and the author of World of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof (2013), will use a multi-media presentation to share information about the “Fiddler on the Roof” story and what accounts for the play’s continued appeal.

     

    Shalom/Sholom: The Yiddish Mark Twain

    June 14, 2020 at 1:00 PM
    Sholom Aleichem, AKA the Yiddish Mark Twian, left his literary mark on the world, weaving tales that once would have been told in the market square or around a fire. With a gift for narrative and vouces, Bob Spiotto brings Aleichem to life and offers a unique smorgasbord of his stories, recreating them much as they might once have been heard.

    Seating is limited, please RSVP to reserve your seat.  Please contact (516)571-8040 or programs@hmtcli.org for more information.

     

  • The Transformation of a Prominent White Nationalist and Its Meaning for Our Center

    People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love.

    Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

    Several days after the Tree of Life Massacre, I sat riveted to an NPR interview with Derek Black, a reformed White Nationalist whose Stormfront website had helped incite that violence. After the interviewer referred to the book about Derek’s transformation, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a White Nationalist, by Eric Saslow, I couldn’t wait to scribble down the title. Soon after, I devoured this eye-opening account, all the while thinking of its value for those who work for tolerance. Toward that end, I’ll summarize the pertinent details of Derek’s story and offer a brief discussion of its relevance. I hope it will serve as a springboard for further reflection.

    Derek’s father, founder of the notorious Stormfront website, and David Duke, infamous former leader of the KKK, groomed Derek to take over the White Nationalist movement because he exemplified all the traits they prized in order to convey their new, genteel image. He was mature, intelligent, well-mannered, and eschewed slurs and violence. He based his views on “facts” of racial science, immigration, and the decrease in white middle-class population, rather than on emotion or overt prejudice. His opinions dovetailed with theirs as he sought to “…save whites from an inevitable genocide by mass immigration and forced assimilation” and claimed “Jews are the cause of all the world’s strife and misery,” adding they schemed to replace the white race by pushing for multi-culturalism.

    Notwithstanding his extreme conservative views, Derek enrolled in New College, a liberal and prestigious Florida institution, primarily to gain credentials useful for his future role. Not surprisingly, a fellow student discovered Derek’s identity, sparking a campus-wide condemnation of Derek’s beliefs. A fiery debate soon ensued on campus about whether to exclude and demonize Derek, or if a better approach was to reach out to him and engage with him. Some of his friends stayed with him, but others left.

    After deciding to fight for his cause on campus rather than retreat, Derek received a text from two Jewish students whom he had previously met, inviting him to attend a Shabbat dinner. The students at this dinner were part of a changing, eclectic group which had been meeting regularly for some time and included Christians, atheists, whites and Hispanics. Matthew, a convert to Orthodox Judaism and the host of the group, believed that extending the hand of friendship would be more effective at helping Derek see the humanity of Jews than attacking or even engaging in direct debate. Through Derek’s connection with this group, he also met Allison, an empathic psychology student who couldn’t fathom how someone so kind, gentle, and intelligent could harbor such destructive views.

    Following an initial period of establishing a respectful, caring and empathic relationship with Derek, Allison decided to challenge his beliefs. She presented him with numerous well-researched books and articles, realizing she could only succeed with firm scientific evidence.     At the same time, she and his friends engaged him with civil, logical arguments with mutual listening. A crucial turning point occurred when Allison confronted Derek about how his beliefs and actions caused real harm to peoples’ lives. Furthermore, she made him aware that his malicious propaganda had targeted some of the very minority students who gave Derek staunch support when so many others shamed and vilified him.

    After three years of soul-searching and inner turmoil, Derek privately disavowed his earlier beliefs to Allison. Allison urged him to go public, but his high profile in the White Nationalist movement gave him pause. With steps of increasing risk and visibility, Derek eventually came out as a supporter and promoter of tolerance, writing articles, giving interviews, and speaking out on College campuses and at other venues about the harm caused by White Nationalists. Derek struck out on his bold new path enduring tremendous humiliation and estrangement from parents, family, and his many former friends.

    Although Derek’s story concerns the transformation of only one individual, it raises questions and points to directions worthy of broader consideration. It asks a basic ethical question, “Should we accept and respect intolerant people, despite their offensive attitudes and behavior?” Allison and Matthew’s success at getting Derek to transform his views was only possible because they connected with him and separated the person from the hateful words and beliefs.

    As we ponder the merits of this point of view, we should keep in mind Timothy Snyder’s assertion in Bloodlands. He contends that by dehumanizing anyone, even Nazis, we hand Hitler a “posthumous victory.”  Snyder means that if we endorse Hitler’s dangerous worldview that there are superior and inferior human beings, it flings the door wide open for horrific repercussions.

    On a more practical level, the lessons of Derek’s narrative suggest a possible path to improve tolerance in our communities. They challenge us to evaluate whether we should fight fire with fire; combatting hate with scorn, demonization, and shunning, as most of the students at New College did. Or, instead, employ a humanistic tack.  The book implies its preference by showing how acceptance, respect, and empathy combined with civil discussions and cultivated friendships, yielded the amazing, desired result. I think it important to examine, individually and as a community, under what circumstances and to what degree we might integrate aspects of this approach when encountering prejudice.

    Aside from its potential instructive worth for the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center, Derek’s story presents us with a gift for the spirit. As with other social change movements, the trap of pessimism always lies in wait to ensnare us, particularly in  troubled times, such as ours. But we can take heart that Derek, an entrenched, highly-respected and intelligent White Nationalist, underwent a massive transformation. Derek’s epic journey should infuse us with hope, inspiration and courage, that we can create a more compassionate world, though the process can be long and arduous.

    I urge all those who seek to apply the lessons of the Holocaust to our own time, read, reflect on, and discuss this book. Doing so will fortify and enlighten us on our mission to propagate harmony and heal the growing wounds of those afflicted with hate.

  • The Persistence of Hate: Exploring Contemporary American Antisemitism

    The Persistence of Hate: Exploring Contemporary American Antisemitism

    Monday, February 10, 2020 from 10:00am – 3:30pm

    How and why does antisemitism persist in communities today?  What can we do as educators to confront hatred in our schools and communities?  Facing History’s new lessons explore the role that antisemitism played at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville as a case study in contemporary antisemitism.  The lessons provide strategies and resources for discussing controversial issues with students that are especially urgent at this historical moment.

    In this workshop, participants will:

    • Explore the lesson series, The Persistence of Hate: What the 2017 Unite the Right rally Revealed about Contemporary Antisemitism, which investigates the August 2017 events in Charlottesville as a case study in contemporary antisemitsm
    • Examine American antisemitism in a historical context by exploring primary sources from the twentieth century
    • Discuss the community responses to these events and how students can choose to participate in strengthening their communities when faced with violations based on hatred or bigotry.

    The workshop is $25 to attend. RSVP online at www.facinghistory.org/newyork/events.