The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, as a partnership of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, Muskegon Community College and Shoah Commemoration, provides the opportunity for Muskegon County High Schools to send a groups of students and a teacher to study the Shoah from a particular theme and to hear from a survivor in a more intimate and conversational setting. This was held on Monday, May 2 at MCC between (:00 am and 2:30 pm.
Dave Lux was the guest presenter, and David Klemm Social Studies Department-MAISD, and Sarah Wyocehoski, Fruitport teacher were the facilitators.
This program began with Ruth Weber, a child survivor from Hungary, and was with various school groups in 2009.
After evaluation the CHGS-Muskegon developed the present format and has welcomed several survivors:
Miriam Brysk from Lodz Ghetto and whose father was a doctor and escaped to the forests of Belarus where they became part of the resistance;
Miriam Winter, whose father gave her into the hands of a gentile and then she in fear gave Miriam into the hands of a total stranger on board a train;
Gerry Manko, who with his family, eventually escaped from Germany in 1939 and was one of the few thousand Jews to immigrate to the United States because of rabid antisemitism (Jew-hatred) in the U.S. State Department and a complacent Congress being lobbied by so called “patriotic” societies but were driven by the same antisemitism. (Gerry died two years ago);
Marthe Cohn, a young Jewish woman from Alsace-Lorraine, whose family moved from that region when the Germans reclaimed it. She escaped with her family to Vichy France, upon liberation by the allies, she joined the French army and because of her fluency in German worked with the intelligence division and became a spy behind the Siegfried Line to spot German troop movements. She experience antisemitism from Germans but also from the ranks of the French military;
Maurice Rafowitz, at the age of four, who was rescued from a hospital bed in Paris by his aunt, while his mother, father, sister and brother were taken to Auschwitz.; only his father survived, and was reunited with Maurice two years after then end of the war; and who during his time with us began to recall memories of the years in hiding;
Ralph Mollerich and Edith Maniker, who recalled their experiences under Hitler in Germany as children with their families, and were sent on the Kindertransport to England, sharing their stories living with families during the blitz, their evacuation, their schooling and their journey to the US after the war.
Other presenters through the years have been: Dr. Eric Gritsch, a Lutheran pastor and Reformation scholar who as a child was drafted into the Hitlerjungen in Austria, whose father was a pastor and rescued Sinti and Roma peoples as part of the underground and was sent to the Russian front and was never heard from again; Martin Lowenberg, a Holocaust survivor from Poland; Jim Zuidema, a liberator; Deit Emons, a member of the Dutch underground; Dr. Henry Greenspan, University of Michigan- Dearborn who has worked with a group of survivors for thirty plus years and has written a book on memory and story.
For more information concerning this program you may contact the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, Mr. David Klemm, 630 Harvey St, Muskegon, MI 49442