Our authors find it very rewarding to present to all kinds of audiences whether in-person or through ZOOM. On January 22, Ruth Wade, Eszter Gombosi and Fran Berg began their ZOOM conversation with the Philadelphia 'Sons & Daughters of Holocaust Survivors' group by each sharing a major gift and challenge that related to their life experience as a second-generation. David Lee Preston, a 2G and retired journalist from the Philadelphia Enquirer, remarked that their 2G group, which was founded in 1979 in Philadelphia, felt re-energized by reading and discussing the powerful chapters by these authors. On January 23, Ava Adler and Joy Ensor shared their stories in-person to 14 people whom a neighbor had invited to her home for this purpose. And on January 24, over 25 2Gs from the UK, some of whom were contributing authors to their own second-generation book, zoomed in to listen to stories shared by Joy Wolfe Ensor, Ruth Taubman and Cilla Thomas. We are grateful to David Clarke of the UK 2G Network for facilitating this connection. Contact us to schedule a time for our authors to visit with you.
Our authors delighted in presenting our book to our neighbor city across the border. Each author on our panel felt a unique connection to Windsor. Rita Benn is a native born Canadian raised in Montreal; Ava Adler's survivor mother had emigrated first to Windsor before moving to Detroit; and Natalie Iglewicz grew up in a very Jewish suburb outside of Detroit, Oak Park. These authors were very impressed by the engagement of the audience, the depth of their questions and their particular interest regarding the impact of current issues on the Second Generation. "Given our parents' horrific history, what are we feeling about the rise of Anti-Semitism? Do we think that our children are impacted in the same way as we are? In what ways do we imagine our parents would react to some of the trends occurring amongst the Jewish population, such as the increased rate of intermarriage that seems to be more prevalent amongst children of holocaust survivors?" The authors were grateful to have the opportunity to reflect on these broader issues. The audience similarly expressed their appreciation in hearing our their stories and perspectives.
On January 8th, Ruth Finkel Wade presented to the general public, including Holocaust survivors and their grown children, at the Tucson Jewish Museum & Holocaust Center (TJMHC). In the audience sat Holocaust survivor Sidney Finkel, Ruth’s father. He proudly watched his daughter speak about his hardships growing up during the Holocaust and its impact later on him and their relationship. The TJMHC docent and descendant of survivors Evie Varady commented during the Q&A that the writers of our book wove the stories of their parents seamlessly into their own lived experience. Ruth’s father who had published his own memoir and presents widely about his experience remarked that he never thought there would be interest in the Second Generation’s perspective. Sidney was more than glad to be proved wrong: the audience of close to sixty was the biggest turnout he had ever seen for a TJMHC program.
Our authors are travelling this January. We are excited to be presenting to audiences located in many cities. Check out our schedule to see if you can join us for an in-person book talk at the Jewish museum in Tucson Arizona, a bookstore in St. Petersburg, Florida, a public library in Ypsilanti, Michigan or at the Jewish Federation in Windsor Ontario. We also will be sharing some of our stories from our book via ZOOM to second generation groups in Philadelphia and the UK.
On December 11, 2022, Irene Butter - educator, author, Holocaust survivor, humanitarian, mentor and friend, turned 92 years old. To honor Irene’s amazing contributions to social justice and Holocaust education, our book authors and members of Generations After created a fund to support future educational programs that will promote Irene's motto "all humanity is our kin". The fund will be housed at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Ann Arbor. Thanks to the generosity of philanthropist, Patti Askwith Kenner, all donations between $92 and $1000 will be doubled until we reach the minimum endowment goal of $50,000. Please consider donating today in honor of Irene Butter. Your gift matters. DONATE here or send a check to the Jewish Community Foundation, c/o Robert Deschaine, 2939 Birch Hollow Drive, Ann Arbor, 48108.
We were delighted that our book was selected to be featured at the Ann Arbor Jewish Book Festival. When we learned that of all the featured juried books, the Department of Judaic Studies at Eastern Michigan University chose ours to be the one they sponsored, we felt even more honored. Our delight continued November 15, the evening of our scheduled presentation. The cold and rainy weather did not hamper a great turnout. A crowd of close to forty individuals came to Third Mind Books, filling its floor space to capacity. The presentation by Julie Ellis, Nancy Szabo and Phil Barr resulted in so many questions that the event went well past closing time. The owner of Third Mind Books was so moved by the authors stories that he felt compelled to come up to the podium and express how meaningful he found this presentation. He described the impact that the Holocaust had for him growing up despite not being a second-generation descendent. We were very grateful to see that several audience members had previously been to our speaking events. They shared that they wanted to hear more stories from our book and buy additional copies as gifts. Thank you to all our supporters.
Photo Credit Elli Gurfinkel
Rita Benn, a co-editor and contributing author, offers a snapshot of our book in a promotional interview for the Metro Detroit Jewish Book Fair. You can listen to the 10-minute interview here. She and Julie Ellis, also a co-editor and contributing author, discussed their book at the Metro Detroit JCC "Schmooze" open house in West Bloomfield on Sunday, November 13.
Several of our authors - Rita Benn, Avishay Hayut, Natalie Iglewicz, and Ruth Wade, attended the 32nd annual conference of the WFJSHD for the first time in St. Louis. We were delighted to share information about our book, learn about new resources, have deep conversations, and discover so many serendipitous connections - from those related to the University of Michigan, our birth cities, and histories of our parents' wartime experiences. In addition to our panel presentation, Ruth and Rita also offered a workshop on the legacy of writing about the 2G experience. With multiple sessions to choose from, they found that over 1/4 of the conference attended their program. With guided writing prompts, and facilitated opportunities to reflect and share, many participants indicated that they had overcome writing blocks that they had been experiencing for years. Our authors were so very grateful to Charley Silow for inviting us to be a part of this wonderful experience.
On November 4, 30 seventh and eighth graders from a private school in Atlanta sat glued to their seats listening to their teacher, Andrea Sarvady, interview Nancy Szabo, one of the authors in our book. The students who were of mixed religious backgrounds had been studying about the Holocaust, preparing for their future performance of a play, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly’. Students' hands shot up like popcorn after the interview. Nancy was struck by the depth and sensitivity of the questions. “Looking back, when did you first see any signs of trauma in your father? Do you think our parents should let us know about painful events in their lives?” Nancy described to the class how she wished she had asked her father more questions about his experiences in Hungary when he was alive. She encouraged the students to explore the life stories of their parents and grandparents. This school event validated what the authors have heard Irene Butter, a Holocaust survivor, author and friend, say to us about the importance of sharing our perspective of the impact of the Holocaust trauma with the younger generation - that students as early as middle school age are not only ready and eager to learn but can benefit from our intergenerational lens.
We were delighted that the University of Michigan Osher Life-long Learning Institute (UM OLLI) selected "The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust" as the selection for their Fall Community Read. On November 4, a panel of four contributing authors to this anthology - Sassa Akervall, Rita Benn, Joy Wolfe Ensor and Simone Yehuda, discussed some of the experiences depicted in their book to a sold-out audience. The panel was moderated by Marjorie Oliver who gave the following remarks: "I had no holocaust survivors in my family, I am a true WASP, so I found this collection to be deeply personal, deeply profound, ofttimes incredibly well-written and very moving. At this time in the world in which we live, we need to be reminded that 'all people are our kin' and of the power of hatred and necessity of confronting it." A recording of this panel presentation has been made available to view through the UM OLLI catalog.