Powerful Holocaust Education Programs in November

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Ottawa marks 79 years since Kristallnacht & 70 years since arrival of Holocaust orphans

Holocaust Education Month in November is more meaningful than ever this year, in the face of growing antisemitism, racism and new influxes of refugees. In Ottawa, the programs of the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship (CHES) reflect this reality through their theme Immigration and Refugees: Then and Now.

Two programs in particular, open to the whole community, put a spotlight on this theme. CHES’s launch event for Holocaust Education Month (HEM) will be held on November 9, the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Known as the Night of Broken Glass, Kristallnacht was a wave of violent attacks on Jewish stores, homes and synagogues (hence the shattered glass) that took place across Nazi Germany on November 9 and 10, 1938, setting off an explosion of human destruction that was to become the Holocaust.

By contrast, this year’s lecture in memory of Kristallnacht focuses on hope and revival. Dr. Avinoam Patt, an eminent professor of modern Jewish history at the University of Hartford (Connecticut), will address, From Destruction to Rebirth: The Return of Life in the Jewish Displaced Person Camps. Dr. Patt will shine new light on the revival of Survivors’ lives after the Holocaust’s devastation, and reflect on the power of refugees, past and present, to recreate themselves under the right conditions—a topic that has not been explored in such depth before.

Dr. Patt is also Associate Director at the Maurice Greenberg Centre for Judaic Studies and Director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization in Hartford. This event is in cooperation with Kehillat Beth Israel Congregation, Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies, the Embassy of the United States of America, the Department of Theology at Saint Paul University, and the Department of History at University of Ottawa. The event will take place at Kehillat Beth Israel Synagogue, 1400 Coldrey Ave., November 9th at 7 p.m.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of 1,123 Jewish Holocaust orphans arriving in Canada. The program on November 16th will pay Tribute to the late John Hirsch – a Holocaust Survivor and immigrant from Hungary who was among those orphans – for his major contributions to Canadian theatre. The special program will include excerpts from the one-man play “Hirsch” created and performed by actor Alon Nashman, with reminiscences by Peter Herrndorff, CEO of the National Arts Centre (NAC), journalist Martin Knelman, and others. Hirsch started his theatre career in Winnipeg, later becoming CBC Head of Drama and Director of the Stratford Festival. This program is presented by CHES in cooperation with the NAC. The event will take place at the National Art Centre, O’Born Room, on November 16th at 7 p.m. Attendees are required to RSVP.

To learn about additional HEM programs for the community at large, please visit the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship.

Specialized Educational Programs

On November 14th, descendants of Holocaust Survivors will meet in Ottawa for CHES’s forum entitled Descendants of Holocaust Survivors Speak Out: Memory, Identity and Emerging Narratives. Prominent community leaders, themselves offspring of Survivors, will lead a panel discussion that aims to help descendants identify and strengthen their own narrative and role in carrying on the legacy and lessons of the Holocaust; and

On November 23rd, CHES’s annual Teachers’ Workshop will be held, one of the linchpins of its Holocaust education platform. On the theme of Immigration Then and Now: What Can We Learn? this event will also commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust orphans’ arrival in Canada, with one of them sharing his dramatic story—along with other refugee tales of absorption into Canada.

For full details, visit the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship.

The Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship is part of the Max and Tessie Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies at Carleton University. Its mission is to promote
knowledge and understanding of the history and legacy of the Holocaust, helping to advance diversity, social justice and human rights in Canada.

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