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2017 Holocaust Commemoration a Fabulous Success

Dr. Roald HoffmannDan Mittler Lighting a CandleNoemi Kraut Lighting a Candle with Ann ErlichAttendeesVOICES Multicultural Chorus

The IAUJC hosted its third annual Holocaust Commemoration on April 24, 2017. It was the inaugural lecture of the new Jacob and Jeannette Geldwert Memorial Lecture Fund. Our board is very proud to have been instrumental in bringing together more than 300 community members of all ages and backgrounds for the purpose of remembering and honoring those who experinced the Holocaust. Temple Beth El was filled to the brim, but all fell quiet as the program began. Marcia Zax, chair of IAUJC welcomed the public and introduced Voices Multicultural Chorus. The singers set the tone with two beautiful songs. Rabbi Scott Glass then told us about Jake and Jeannette Geldwert - two Holocaust survivors who resided in Ithaca for many years. Their children established the Geldwert Memorial Lecture Fund as a community legacy. A candle lighting ceremony was next on the program. It included second generation survivors who lit candles in their parents' honor.

    Our keynote speaker, Nobel laureate, Roald Hoffmann, then took us on a journey to Poland in the late 1930's. He described the town where he was born, its demographics and how the dividing of Poland between Russia and Germany caused a terrible upheaval among the different ethnic groups. He described his parents and relatives, their experiences in the labor camps and their efforts to escape. He told us about the school teacher who hid Roald's family in the attic above the school house for several years. He told us how he, as a five year old spent his time in that attic, learning to read and playing educational games with his mother. The story goes on to liberation, events leading to immigration to the U.S, and efforts to keep in contact with the Christian family that helped his family.
    Dr. Hoffmann both analyzed the events as history and looked at them from a philosophical viewpoint. He kept the audience enthralled, hanging on every word. His lecture was a gift to all who were lucky enough to be present.