Brit of Remembrance – Bar/Bat Mitzvah Project

This generation is among the last to have the privilege of meeting with a Survivor who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators.

The Brit of Remembrance Program is designed to provide bnai mitzvah students the opportunity to learn from and to form a relationship with a Survivor of the Shoah.

Requirements:

  • Meet with a Survivor at least three times.
  • Keep a journal of meetings.
  • Speak about the Survivor’s story, including life before and after the Holocaust, at your Bar or Bat Mitzvah and throughout your life.

A donation fee of $36.00 is recommended in order to help continue this program.

If interested in participating in this special experience, please contact our Education Director, Amy SaNogueira, amyjsano@holocauststudies.org, at least four months prior to your child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

College Internship Program

The museum provides a semester-long education internship for college students. To request information please email Amy SaNogueira, Education Director at amyjsano@holocauststudies.org

Samuel Short

Samuel Short is a resident of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and a recent graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with his B.A. in History. He became interested in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies through personal reading of survivor accounts in Auschwitz, as well as the history courses he took as an undergraduate student. Samuel plans to pursue an M.A. in History in the fall of 2017.

Sarah Coykendall

My name is Sarah Coykendall. I'm 23 years old from Glen Spey, NY. I received my Bachelor's in History and Anthropology from SUNY Oneonta. I am currently in progress to receive my Master’s in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Kean University. I am very excited to be working with the Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance and Education. I am looking forward to working hands on in a museum setting. My goal for this experience is to gain the necessary resources needed to one day work in a Holocaust museum myself. I'm thrilled to be able to teach this subject to other students in order to share this moment in history and hopefully inspire others to do the same. The Holocaust, although well studied, never loses its central importance. I believe working with the museum at RCC will provide me with an exceptional opportunity to help others in their own dealing with this material.

Samuel Short

The 21st Annual Siegelbaum Literary & Visual Arts Competition

The Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education runs an annual art and writing competition. The Siegelbaum Competition is in its 21st year! The competition is open to students in grades 6 through 12, and divided between middle school and high school. Students may choose to submit one piece of either art, poetry, or prose.

This year’s theme is: “The Power of the Immigrant Story.” Guidelines and educational materials can be found here.

The Siegelbaum awards ceremony will be held May 9, 2017 at Rockland Community College.

Entries will be accepted through March 21, 2017.

This competition has been established through the generosity of Judy Siegelbaum, in memory of her husband Dr. Harold z”l Siegelbaum, whose vision helped found the Museum.

HIDDEN CHILDREN The Youngest Survivors of the Holocaust Historical Background

There were about 1.6 million Jewish children, ranging in age from infants to teenagers, living in Europe at the start of World War II. An estimated 1.5 million were killed in the war.

Hiding was a way for Jewish parents to save their children – or for the children to save themselves. The lives of the hidden children changed instantly as they left their families, friends, and belongings behind. Each hidden child had a unique experience. Some found refuge amid religious organizations. Others became maids, farm hands, or factory workers. Some stayed out of sight in cramped spaces underground, or hid in secret rooms.

Hidden children lived in constant fear of being discovered, captured, and killed. They lived day by day, longing to be reunited with family. Through their years in hiding, they focused on survival and maintained hope for the future.

To survive, Jewish children had to deny their right to exist as themselves. Many adopted false identities by changing their names and practicing Christianity. Concealing their heritage was hard to accomplish. They were always aware that they might be recognized and informed on to the Nazis, or might mix up their stories and accidentally reveal important information.

The hidden children would not have survived the war without the help of non-Jewish people. Christian rescuers were from every social and economic class. Rescuers put themselves at great risk, hiding their acts of kindness from their neighbors, friends, and sometimes even from members of their own families. Discovery meant arrest, torture, and a sentence of death.

The liberation of Europe in 1945 brought an end to the war. For hidden children, coming out of hiding did not mean a return to the normalcy of their former lives. Homes were shattered, villages destroyed. The hope that kept them focused on survival – that they would see their families again – was shattered for most upon learning of the deaths of their relatives.

In 1991, The First International Gathering of Children Hidden during World War II conference, held in New York City, brought their experiences into the public eye. In celebrating their survival and acknowledging their histories, the hidden children began the process of coming to terms with the past.

This is a traveling exhibit.
The Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance & Education exhibit Hidden Children: The Youngest Survivors of the Holocaust is comprised of 31 pull-up display panels with banner stands, each one measuring 24” x 78” when open. The rolled up panels are each in individual metal cases; each case is in a material foam-lined bag. For more information please contact the Museum at holocaustrcc@gmail.com or 845-574-4099. This exhibit is available for rental.

Reflections

Dear Mr. Moskin,
It took me days to begin writing to thank you for coming to speak to our 8th grade students. Your story was so powerful and compelling, so vivid and haunting, I, as well as each and every one of my students, could barely speak about it without choking up. Honestly, it’s beyond us how you are able to speak about such painful memories and hold it together. But I get it – you have to. Somehow you managed, through your words, your candor, to bring us into your story as if we were walking in your shoes. We are all grateful that you chose, on June 10th, 1995, to bravely open the doors behind which you had locked your story for over 50 years and let it flow out. If telling the story of the Holocaust to younger generations is a necessity, then you do a mitzvah with every visit, every talk, every hug you offer kids. My students and I agreed, 90 minutes was not nearly enough time to listen to your story. We could have listened to you for days. And so, others should too. Your story is vital on so many levels. As you will read in the many letters written to you by our students, your message about the importance of family time, the importance of friendships and especially of tolerance resonated like music in their ears. Many of them write how their perspectives on life are changed from listening to you – how they feel more gratitude for the people in their lives, how they intend to open their eyes to the gifts of their lives rather than focus on any gaps. And they all especially appreciated that you spoke to them frankly, not as kids, not ‘sugar-coating’ any of the tough details. I hope that you will be able to speak to our next year’s group of 8th graders as well.
Sir, it was my honor and one of the greatest pleasures of my life to meet you and listen to your story. God bless you. I wish you many years of health and happiness. I hope it’s okay if we stay in touch. I will reach out to check up on you every now and then. You are a treasure.
Sincerely Yours,
Stephen Tesher
English 8 Teacher – Nyack Middle School

Dear Paul, Jeannie, and Alan,
I was so inspired to hear of the courage of you and your loved ones. Hearing of the absolute horrors of the Holocaust makes me truly appreciate the privileges I have. Many of your messages will always have an impact on the way I behave and think. You've taught me to stand up for others and not be a bystander in situations where I know I can help… It is so important for people to hear your stories and be informed by primary sources such as yourselves.
Sincerely,
K. H.
10th grade student – Wallkill High School

Dear Paul, Alan, and Jeannie,
The lessons of destroying hate in this world, being courageous, judging people only by character, and more are rules that every human alive should live by; I will cherish these lessons for the rest of my existence.
Shalom Aleichem (May peace be upon you all),
T. G.
10th grade student – Wallkill High School

Thank you for making a trip to our school. One part of the week I will always remember is Mr. Golan’s story with every little detail, and I was fascinated on every single word he said! When he told his story first hand, I almost felt all of his emotions.
Sincerely,
M. B.
6th grade student – Suffern Middle School

I would like to mention the testimony that Dr. Levy presented to the children. Holding the attention of thirteen year olds can be difficult. Dr. Levy gave them a verbal view of the life of a child in hiding. His easy delivery helped them relate to the story and have an understanding of a terrible time in history.
Christine Presotto
St. Paul School

I wanted to again thank you for helping set up the presentation at our school yesterday. I've gotten very positive responses from teachers, students and parents alike. Everyone enjoyed meeting Alan and Sonia and learning of their experiences.

As for me, this event is one that I will never forget and will be sharing with people I meet at every occasion.
Andrew Rivas
Burke Catholic High School

I have thought of you all countless times since last Tuesday, and have passed on your stories to family, friends, colleagues, other students, anybody willing to listen. Your voices completely shattered our students' perception of the Holocaust as a disembodied historical event that existed only as dates, grim statistics, and grainy black and white images, and compelled them to reframe their understanding in human terms.

I realize that reliving the unimaginable horrors and losses you experienced must be painful, but I want to thank you for reaching back into a very dark past in order to give our children a chance at the brotherhood and peace you and your loved ones were so unjustly denied.
Jeanne Chun (Teacher of English)
Wallkill High School

Outstanding speakers, one after the next.

Stories to pass through generations. Tears in my eyes about terrible nightmares that all came true. Worse than nightmares! Mothers and children; horrors to remember. The boy in the snow storm, on the mountain, freezing with mother beside him. Looking for freedom. Why is freedom so hard? Freedom is harsh, freedom is selective, freedom is elusive. Freedom is found and then lost and then found again. Freedom is a struggle; it is a chore; it is a privilege. I am blessed to be free, to be allowed to walk on any chosen road, to be able to have a childhood, a motherhood, a personhood. To have a voice, to have a choice! To love my family and have them near. To teach others about freedom. To watch and learn. Bravery; risking your life in support of freedom. Everyone, rescuers, liberators, up-standers. Knowing that bystanders are guilty.
Karen DeKoskie (Teacher of English)
Wallkill High School

Paul Galan collage

testimonials

testimonials