On January 22, 2014, the JCRC partnered with Bethel University and KFAI to present a reception for Transfer of Memory, a photo exhibition illustrating Holocaust survivors living in Minnesota, in their homes, in full color.  The exhibition tells the story of Minnesota Holocaust survivors before, during, and after the Shoah (Hebrew for Holocaust).  The exhibition has already travelled to several locations in the Twin Cities as well as St. Cloud, Elk River, and Grand Forks, ND.

Each Holocaust survivor in Transfer of Memory shares a story of survival during exceedingly difficult circumstances yet as a collection, these images focus on life and hope. From Europe to Minnesota, it was here they fashioned their dreams, their futures, and their families – their lives are a constant reminder of the value of freedom and the enduring human spirit. Photographer David Sherman and writer Lili Chester, in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), created this photography exhibit.  For more information about Transfer of Memory, visit http://transferofmemory.org/.

The reception at Bethel University was a great success drawing over 200 students, teachers, and community members to the Benson Great Hall.  It featured Dora Eiger Zaidenweber, a participant in the photography exhibit.  Dora presented her newly published family memoir Sky Tinged Red, which chronicles the 2 ½ years her father, Isaia Eiger, spent in Auschwitz.  The book is actually Dora’s painstaking translation of her father’s manuscript written in his hand in pencil (some of which was missing for decades) – from Yiddish into English.  (Click here for photos from the event.)

Dora Zaidenweber (left) with her daughter, Rosanne Zaidenweber.

Dora Eiger Zaidenweber was born in Radom, Poland in 1924. She survived the Radom forced labor camp and Birkenau and was liberated from Bergen-Belsen.  Dora has spoken frequently about her experiences in the Holocaust.  Her testimony is part of the Shoah Foundation Institute, Yad Vashem, and her story appears in the book Witnesses to the Holocaust.  Dora has made it her mission - “her obligation” - to tell her story.  She feels that it is her duty to remember and honor those who have no one to remember them.

Students from a number of schools attended Dora's talk including Normandale Community College (Thank you Prof. Andy Tix) and Calvin Christian High School (Thank you Anneke Branderhorst).  The students were well prepared and asked some profoundly important questions including Dora's view of forgiveness and atonement.  This led to an illuminating discussion of similarities and differences between Jewish and Christian conceptions of forgiveness and atonement.

Also attending was retired St. Louis Park High School social studies teacher Wes Bodin.  Wes Bodin taught Dora’s daughter, Rosanne Zaidenweber.  Wes encouraged Rosanne to speak with Dora about the Holocaust.  Dora spoke publically about her experiences in the Holocaust for the first time in the early 1970s at St. Louis Park High School.

We thank Prof. Andy Johnson – the lead organizer of the program at Bethel – for reporting that Dora’s presentation has been the subject of on-campus classroom discussions.  He has been contacted by professors and students from other institutions who attended Dora’s talk wanting to know about other events.

The photo exhibition will be on display at Bethel University through February 13, 2014.

Thank you to Bethel University and KFAI for contributing to the success of the opening reception.   Special thanks are owed to Bethel University President Jay Barnes, Provost Deb Harless, Rosanne Zaidenweber, Nancy Sartor, and Avis Soderstrom.

The JCRC will co-sponsor the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies’ commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide entitled: “Genocide and its Aftermaths:  Lessons from Rwanda.”  The events will include a public conference, a student conference, and a K-12 teacher workshop.  The programs will take place April 16th, 17th, and 19th at the University of Minnesota. Other organizers of the programming include the Institute for Global Studies, the Human Rights Program, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

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