News and Updates

The Center for Holocaust and genocide Studies-Muskegon marked the 77th Anniversary of Kristalnacht which occurred throughout Germany on November 9-10 1938.

It was a state sponsored pogrom against the Jews of Germany and woke the world to the brazen antisemitism which the Nazis now felt emboldened to demonstrate.

Edi Shafer’s family lived in Germany. Her father and grandfather were incarcerated in Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp outside of Berlin.

After their release her family made plans to leave and with forged papers they eventually arrived in Shanghai China where Jews could travel because you did not need a visa.

Despite the treaty with Germany the Japanese, who controlled Shanghai, did not have a history of antisemitism, and moved the 35,000 Jews into areas which had been occupied by the British and Americans. Life was hard and sometimes brutal. Edi was born the year after Max and Gerta arrived.

Mary Munson Murphy, who wrote the biography of Edi Shafer, shared the challenges of writing hard and difficult stories with integrity. Interviewed by Susan Harrison Wolffis, who has interviewed and written about survivors and liberators and rescuers, they talked about the ghetto in Shanghai and the challenges faced by those who fled Germany, Poland, Russia and elsewhere.

Also present and introduced by Mr. David Klemm, Social Studied department of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, was Allison Chen who submitted a project on a Chinese diplomat who rescued hundreds of Jews for a Michigan history contest. She took top honor for her website. Asked how this had affected her life she said: “I will never see the world as I did before I started the project.” As Mr. Klemm commented, “That is a part of what public school education is about in children’s lives.”

Wolffis and Murphy traveled to several area schools who took up the invitation from the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies to bring Murphy to their campus. Thanks to Fruitport, North Muskegon and Orchard View for participating.

The next event sponsored by the Center is a workshop for educators on Echoes and Reflections, January 27 2016 at the MAISD. This is an approved curriculum for educators who teach the Holocaust and genocide. You can contact David Klemm at the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District if you are interested in attending. Educators will be guided through the curriculum and given the materials at no cost for use in the classroom or other venue. More information is on the center website: and the Facebook page:

The Journey September 2016-2017: a community based program of the CHGS at Muskegon Community College for students in Grades 7 & 8 in Muskegon County, to study racism and hate through the lens of the Holocaust and to recognize the gifts they have to address hate even at a young age. The final activity is a trip to the United states Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. Applications for the program are available on line beginning in December ( We are looking for people in the community to sponsor children who cannot afford the cost. If you would like more information you may email


On May 1-4 2016 the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies will welcome our guest presenter Mr. David Lux, a child survivor from 1939 Czechoslovakia who boarded one of the trains organized by Lord Nicholas Winton. The Winton trains, while considered part of the Kindertransport, were unique in where the children came from and how their destinations were planned. All this was due to a unique man who used his wealth and his position to save lives – a good message still in our world today.

May 1st: The Service of Commemoration 3:30pm Samuel Lutheran Church, 8th Street and Muskegon Ave, Muskegon Michigan

May 2nd: High School Outreach Program, 8:30 am – 2:30 pm Muskegon Community College May 2nd: Annual Commemoration Dinner to raise funds for the community educational programs of the CHGS.

May 3rd: Partners presentation (to be announced)

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is totally dependent on the Holiday Bread Sale in December, the Annual Commemoration Dinner and contributions from individuals, organizations and faith communities. We receive no grants from government or foundations. Any and all contributions come through our fiduciary, Muskegon County Cooperating Churches, a 501-c3 agency. All checks are made out to: MCCC/CHGS-Muskegon.

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 News and Updates