Co-chairmen Helen Lodge and Dr. Steven Jubelirer announce the third series of lectures and activities to focus on the Holocaust, including notable speakers and Holocaust survivors. They will be joined by Holocaust teachers from George Washington, Sissonville and St. Albans high schools; West Virginia State University and WVU Tech and department heads from Kanawha County Schools.
Past series were held in 2002 and 2006.
"Holocaust Remembered: Witness and Legacy" is a series of lectures and activities planned from Oct. 13 to Dec. 2 in Charleston.
The series is sponsored by West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts; West Virginia Division of Culture and History; CAMC Health System, Inc.; The Bernard H. and Blanche E. Jacobson Foundation; Federated Jewish Charities of Charleston and Kanawha County Schools.
All lectures and activities are free to the public.
The purpose of the series is to educate the public as to the actual happenings during that horrendous period in history and to impart the importance of tolerance, hope, acceptance and respect — not to stereotype individuals based on religious belief, color of skin or national origin. The series stresses the importance of positive thinking, as well as creativity and inner strength to overcome adversity. "The lectures give creditability to the cord that binds us as human beings," Lodge, a Montgomery native, said in a press release.
Following is a list of the scheduled lectures, all of which begin at 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 13 — Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia, One Leon Sullivan Way. Returning for the third series is renown writer and lecturer Dr. Michael Berenbaum. He will open the series with "Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Genocide." Survivors took two vows in the aftermath of the Holocaust, "Remember, Do Not Let the World Forget" and "Never Again," never again for the Jewish people and never again for all of humanity. Yet the specter of genocide has raised its head again and again in our world and in our time; so how do we remember the past in the shadows of recurring genocide, and how to remember in such a way as to fulfill their vow: Never again! Pick up free tickets at the Clay Center box office prior to the event or that evening. The Lovely Ladies String Quartet from the West Virginia Youth Symphony will open the Holocaust Remembered series and activities.
Thursday, Oct. 23 — University of Charleston, Riggleman Hall Auditorium, 2900 MacCorkle Avenue. Henry Mayer, U.S. Holocaust Museum's Senior Advisor on Archives, will present compelling evidence of the planning of the Holocaust ("It only took 17 years"), and the search for the Alfred Rosenberg Diary. Dr. Edwin Welch, president of the University of Charleston, will engage Mayer in a conversational interview about the search for and contents of the diary. Rosenberg, the chief theoretician for the Nazi party and state, oversaw the slaughter of millions of people through firing squads, starvation and forced and slave labor. He also oversaw the organization that plundered literally millions of pieces of art, furnishings and other cultural treasures from individuals and from national cultural and historical institutions from almost the entire European continent. West Virginia Youth Symphony harpist Chance Messer will perform prior to the lecture.
Saturday, Oct. 25 — 10:45 a.m., B'nai Jacob Synagogue, 1599 Virginia Avenue. "Understanding Jewish Worship." Rabbi Victor Urecki will follow the Jewish Sabbath morning service (9 to 10:45 a.m.) with an interactive explanation of the structure, customs and traditions of the sacred liturgy of Judaism. This provides the community with the opportunity to discover and understand Jewish worship. A luncheon will follow the service.
Monday, Oct. 27 — The West Virginia Culture Center, State Capitol Complex. Fred Mayer, "The Real and Inglorious Bastards." Fred fled Germany for New York City in 1938. He joined the U.S. Army, becoming a secret agent with the OSS (precursor to the CIA). Leading one of the most daring spy missions of World War II, Fred parachuted into Austria where he collected valuable information for the Allies. He was later caught, beaten for days and finally released with the aid of a sympathetic doctor. He went on to single-handedly negotiate the surrender of Innsbruck, saving thousands of lives. Fred, 93, lives in Charles Town. Following a showing of "The Real and Glorious Bastards," Fred will be interviewed by Wes Holden, with questions from the audience. Preceding the program, St. Albans Studio of Dance will perform to the "Theme from Schindler's List." A reception will follow Mr. Mayer's presentation and during the viewings of the photographs of James H. Hall.
Monday, Nov. 17 — Baptist Temple, 209 Morris Street. Philip Bialowitz, "Bearing Witness: A Promise to Sobibor." Philip was 14 when he arrived at the Sobibor death camp. It was to become the scene of a famous prisoners' revolt, one of the rare successful concentration camp uprisings. In 1943, 600 prisoners overran Nazi staff and guards; 300 escaped the camp, 50 made it to the end of the war and seven survive today. Bialowitz will recount some of this period and suggest further of his resources. His talk will be preceded by a presentation of Hebrew songs by the Appalachian Children's Chorus.
Tuesday, Dec. 2 — Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre, 200 Civic Center Drive. Marion Blumenthal Lazan, "Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story." "Four Perfect Pebbles" recounts Marion's imprisonment at age 7, surviving several refugee, transit and concentration camps that included the notorious Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Her story is one of horror and hardship, but it is also a story of courage, hope and the will to survive. She stresses tolerance and respect of others and the importance of positive thinking as well as creativity and inner strength to overcome adversity. Her presentation will be preceded by a short performance by students of the River City Youth Ballet Ensemble. Lazan will speak to approximately 1200 students, grades 5 to 12, the following day. Any schools wishing to attend should contact Helen Lodge at 304-925-8828.
Other activities planned include:
Friday, Oct. 17 to Thursday, Oct. 23 — Park Place Stadium Cinema, 600 Washington Street East. "The Book Thief," show times 1, 4, 7 and 9:40 p.m., compliments of Park Place Cinemas. "The Book Thief" is an American German World War II drama about a young girl whose mother had to flee because she was a Communist who is raised by foster parents who teach her to read. As the war progresses and the situation of Jews becomes ever more precarious, her foster parents shelter a Jewish boy whose dangerous and lonely existence is mitigated by the books that are read to him. Events of the Nazis in power from the book burnings to Kristallnacht and the unfolding of the Holocaust and the deportation of Jews to death camps serve as a background that adds power and poignancy to a story that is deeply personal. Directed by Brian Percival, the film stars Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Sophie Nelisse and was nominated for an Academy Awards and a Golden Globe.
Monday, Oct. 20 to Tuesday, Oct. 28 — West Virginia Culture Center. "How Could It Happen? Through the Eyes of a West Virginian," the photographs of the late James H. Hall of Mink Shoals, will be on display. Hall was one of the first Allied soldiers to enter the Dachau concentration camp at the liberation of its prisoners. His job was to photograph to document the misery of Dachau and to track down those who created it. He carried a U.S. Army investigator's pass, signed by General Patton in seven languages. The photographs track the liberation through the war crimes tribunal, with riveting written comments by Mr. Hall.
Saturday, Oct. 18 — A workshop for teachers (pre-registration required) will be held at The Culture Center.
Tuesday, Oct. 21 — A Holocaust Remembrance Essay Contest Awards will be presented at 6:30 p.m., followed by the film, "The Book Thief." The essay contest is for Kanawha County students in grades 6-12. Student essays and artwork will also be on display.
For more information, call Helen Lodge at 304-925-8828.