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


     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.

  • Meet and Greet with Author Linda Frank

    Meet and Greet
    with Linda Frank
    Author of 
    After the Auction and The Lost Torah of Shanghai

    Linda Frank

    Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 1 p.m.

    Presented by the Louis Posner Memorial Library at HMTC

    Join us for a Meet and Greet, book signing and talk by author Linda Frank. The world first met Lily Kovner, journalist turned amateur sleuth, on her globe trotting quest to recover an antique Seder plate stolen from her family by the Nazis in After the Auction. Now Ms. Frank brings Lily back for her next mystery in The Lost Torah of Shanghai. At the behest of her Chinese-Jewish cousin Ruth, who has nicknamed Lily the “Jewish Miss Marple,” Lily and her significant other, Simon, embark on a dangerous endeavor to find a historic Iraqi Torah scroll that has gone missing from the home of a Chinese government official in Shanghai.

    There is a suggested donation of $10. To reserve seats or for more information, please contact Lara Carignano at (516) 571-8040 or LaraCarignano@hmtcli.org.






  • Reading Memoirs

    As a United States Holocaust Memorial Teaching Fellow and former junior-senior high school English teacher, I love to ask students and teachers what books they read while learning about the Holocaust.  Two titles seem to be recommended frequently: Ruth Minsky Sender’s memoir, The Cage; and Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night.

    The Cage recounts the story of Riva Minska, born May 3, 1926 in Lodz, Poland. At thirteen years old, Riva lives with her widowed mother and siblings. Until September, 1939, when the Nazis invaded Poland, everything seems to be fine. Riva and her family have nice neighbors and friends. But after the invasion, all this changes as some neighbors betray the family when the Lodz Ghetto is established. Jews lose their homes; Riva’s mother is taken away by the Nazis, and Riva, now sixteen years old must be the ‘mother’ to her brothers since her older siblings have been smuggled to Russia for safety.

    Soon Riva and her brothers are deported to Auschwitz Concentration Camp where they are separated. Riva reveals the horror of the place, the daily struggle to survive one more day, the bravery and humanity of some of the inmates, and the memory of her mother’s voice saying, “As long as there is life, there is hope.”

    Night, originally written in French by Elie Wiesel ten years after he was liberated, is the story of his experience with his father from their home in the small town of Sighet, Transylvania to deportation to Auschwitz and Elie’s later journey in the ‘death march’ to Buchenwald as the war is ending. Elie, fourteen years old when his story begins, is religious and a good son; soon his family is sent to the ghetto, herded by the Hungarian police who are sympathetic to the Nazis. From there, the Jews are placed in cattle cars for the journey to Auschwitz where Elie and his father are separated from his mother and little sister and never sees them again.

    In understated language, Wiesel, a global spokesman for the Holocaust and winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, reveals a story of the “strength of the human spirit” as he, his father, and their fellow Jews try to help each other in order to survive the horrors of the camp, the hard labor, the daily loss of dignity, and the struggle to keep their religion. Elie tries to stay with his father as long as he can, protecting him, sharing with him, loving him.

    Both of these memoirs, of teenagers caught in the Holocaust, are used widely in schools across the country for students in middle school and high school. Students who read The Cage can email Survivor Ruth Minsky Sender at: rsender@optonline.net  and she will answer.

    At our Holocaust Memorial Tolerance Center (HMTC), you can find these books in our Louis Posner Memorial Library and on our book shelves in the main lobby where books are for sale. In addition, both books are on the recommended lists in our Center’s Holocaust education trunks. Both memoirs are excellent primary sources and fulfill the NYS Common Core Anchor Standards for grades 6-12.

    —Honey Kern, educator and HMTC volunteer

  • November 2013 Volunteer of the Month

    HMTC is proud to recognize Barbara Kupfer Murray for the November Volunteer of the Month.

    Barbara began her journey with HMTC in 2001 after reading in a local paper that the Center was looking for volunteers. Having recently edited a book titled, “From Generation to Generation,” an anthology of Holocaust Survivor testimonies and reactions by 2nd Generation children, Barbara felt that HMTC was the perfect place for the book. She was met by “wonderful staff and volunteers” and immediately wanted to get involved. Barbara spent time at the Center to help inform visitors about the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust and assist in teaching tolerance to the youth.

    Soon, she then became a permanent volunteer in the Louis Posner Memorial Library where she met Marcia Posner and Gloria Jackel. Barbara has now been volunteering for 12 years. Barbara is not only a volunteer but also the child of two Holocaust Survivors. As Survivors begin to grow older, HMTC is relying more and more on 2nd Gens to help tell their parents’ stories. Barbara is a member of HMTC’s 2nd Generation Group at the Sid Jacobson Center in Roslyn. Of the group she says, “I feel that our 2nd Generation Group will continue to expand and raise awareness of how important it is to remember the past and not forget how much suffering existed as a result of World War II.”

    Barbara has also been a pioneer of telling her parents’ testimony with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation. In this way, she can continue their legacy by engaging with young people about the dangers of intolerance. She feels her work is especially important since her daughter Meaghan is the 3rd Generation. Meaghan has participated HMTC’s Louis Posner Memorial Library events and other special programs. Regarding the 3rd Generation, and especially her daughter, Barbara says “I feel that it is important to pass the torch of memory to her generation in order to ensure that history is not forgotten and tolerance is further stressed.”

    Barbara, it is a pleasure to honor you this month. Thank you for all you do at HMTC

  • September 2013 Volunteer of the Month

    The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County is pleased to recognize Gloria Jackel as our Volunteer of the Month.

    Gloria began her journey at HMTC while walking through the Welwyn preserve 20 years ago. As she passed the former Pratt estate, Gloria noticed people inside and went in to inquire as to what the building was being used for. Once inside, she observed there were “books in boxes, books all over” and she quickly volunteered to help organize the books. She was introduced to Boris Chartan, HMTC Founder and Chairman Emeritus and swiftly became apart of the HMTC family.  When the time came for HMTC to house its own Holocaust library, Gloria was asked to be a librarian. Having no prior experience, Gloria became self-taught in the lending and sorting of books. She says, … “it was an education for me.” The library now holds over 7,000 volumes of Holocaust, genocide, multicultural, anti-bias and anti-bullying material for youth and adults, from Kindergarten through post-graduate researchers. It is the largest such collection on Long Island

    Presently, Gloria can be found in the library assisting research scholars and young students in their pursuit of Holocaust history and genocide education. As a result of Gloria’s dedication, the HMTC’s library is now a bustling nook of information for students and visitors alike. Gloria is always ready to lend support to young scholars as they dig through the emotional material. Along with her library duties, Gloria has been an active HMTC Board member since, 1998.

    Gloria, It is a pleasure to honor you. Thank you for your contributions to make HMTC the institution it is today.