Holocaust program pairs survivors with Palo Alto teens
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The Mercury News

By Jacqueline Lee

It was her mother’s intuition that spared Denise Elbert from the gas chambers during the Jewish Holocaust in World War II.

Samantha Alvarez and Denise Elbert

Elbert was 9 months old in 1942 when she boarded a train headed for Sobibor with her mom and dad. Young Jewish Slovakian families, like the Elberts, had been told they were needed to help build a major German city, and locals lined the platform to see them off.

When Elbert’s mother spotted a good childhood friend, she decided to ask the friend to care for her daughter until the couple got settled in the new city.

None of the Jewish families knew then that Sobibor was a death camp.

“I think it was pure instinct,” Elbert said, “and that saved me.”

Elbert, 75, of Sunnyvale, knows her story is unique in that she is one of the younger survivors of the Holocaust.

Because of this, she willingly shares her story with young people through the Holocaust Center’s Next Chapter program, which pairs survivors with teens and regularly engages in a speaker series.

Read the full article at The Mercury News >


Posted by Admin on January 5, 2017
Sonoma County students learn about bigotry, hatred through a Holocaust lens
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The Press Democrat

By Christi Warren

Several generations have come and gone since May 1945 when the last prisoners were liberated from the Nazi concentration camps of World War II.

The Holocaust today feels far away, especially for youth increasingly separated from not only the harsh realities of a world at war, but the scope of Germany’s campaign of genocide.

For years, Jewish groups have worked to bring Holocaust survivors into classrooms to discuss their time in the camps, to tell their stories. But that population is quickly dwindling — fewer than 100,000 survivors remain — which is what sparked the effort to bring Bay Area students together for a program created by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center in San Francisco called “the Big Read.”

Read the full article at The Press Democrat >


Posted by Admin on December 20, 2016
Students connect to Holocaust lesson
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Filipa A. Ioannou

At Francisco Middle School in San Francisco’s North Beach, more than 80 percent of the students speak a language other than English at home — and they were quick to pick up on the talk about immigration during the recent presidential debates.

“There’s a total undercurrent of fear here for our particular students,” says Marna Blanchard, a social studies teacher at Francisco, where students’ other languages include Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean.

Mona with student

Concert pianist Mona Golabek greets student at performance of Children of Willesden Lane, part of the Bay Area Big Read    Photo credit: Lea Suzuki

The complicated emotions students feel as they observe current events — from President-elect Donald Trump’s vow to build a border wall to the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe — have led some to connect deeply with their learning materials as they study the Holocaust.

As part of “The Big Read,” a program launched by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center this fall, 7,000 Bay Area students read a book about the life of Lisa Jura, a 14-year-old girl who fled Nazi-occupied Vienna in 1938.

Read the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle >


Posted by Admin on November 21, 2016
Holocaust book resonates for teens learning English
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J Weekly

By Dan Pine

High school teacher Jessica Vaughn’s students have no trouble relating to Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler in the 1930s. Whether from Latin America, Southeast Asia or the Middle East, the teens know what it means to flee one’s homeland for safety. Most have refugees in their own families.

That explains why teaching the Holocaust through the book “The Children of Willesden Lane” resonated with her English Language Development class at San Lorenzo’s Arroyo High School.

Written by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen, the book recounts the story of Golabek’s mother, Lisa Jura, a Jewish piano prodigy forced at age 14 to flee Nazi-occupied Austria in the 1938 Kindertransport to England. She eventually immigrated to California and raised two daughters, Mona and Renee, both of whom became classical pianists as well.

Read the full article here >

 


Posted by Admin on November 10, 2016
JFCS Holocaust Center’s BAY AREA BIG READ Featured on KCBS Radio
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KCBS reporter Scott Lettieri interviewed students at City Arts and Technology High School in San Francisco where teacher, Allison McManis, is engaging her classroom in the JFCS Holocaust Center’s The Children of Willesden Lane BAY AREA BIG READ.

Click Play to Listen:


Posted by Admin on October 30, 2016