The JFR’s European Study Program to Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria was both exceptional and exhausting. The design and flow of the study program provided each of us the opportunity to explore and understand different aspects of the Holocaust in greater depth. It was wonderful to have Professor Robert Jan van Pelt back as our scholar-in-residence.
We met at the Munich airport and proceeded to the center of Munich. We walked from the Feldherrnhalle where the 1923 Putsch was stopped to the Haus der Kunst and then to the Koenigsplatz with the still existing buildings that once housed Nazi headquarters. We visited the White Rose Memorial pavement memorial and the White Rose exhibition at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. We ended our time in Munich at the Munich Documentation Centre. After a long first day, we left Munich for Nuremberg.
In Nuremberg, we visited Court Room 600, which opened early for our group. We then visited the Nuremberg Documentation Centre and the Zeppelinfeld. We traveled to Flossenburg Concentration Camp where Dr. Jorg Skriebelei, Director of the Memorial, met with our group. We were escorted through the camp and visited the two exhibitions at the memorial site. We left Flossenburg for Prague.
In Prague, we visited Holocaust related sites and toured the Jewish Quarter. Our second day in Prague, we went to Theresienstadt.
We left Prague for Hartheim Castle and Mauthausen. Hartheim was one of the T-4 sites. Prior to our arrival at Hartheim, Steven Field, M.D., JFR board member, gave a lecture on the T-4 Program. Some 30,000 men, women, and children were killed immediately upon arrival at Hartheim Castle. From there, we traveled a short distance to Mauthausen, where at least 95,000 prisoners were killed. The day was emotionally exhausting and was perhaps the most difficult day for many.
We ended our Study Program in Vienna where we visited the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies and met with the Director of the Institute. We went to other Holocaust related sites in Vienna.
Throughout our time in Europe, Robert Jan gave lectures on subjects ranging from Holocaust historiography, specific to the site we were visiting, to the history of the Holy Roman Empire, to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to looted Jewish art. Professor van Pelt was outstanding.
We look forward to hearing from our Study Program participants over this coming school year to see how they have incorporated their time in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria into their Holocaust unit of study. We would like to thank the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for their support of this important program.
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After our Study Program ended in Vienna, several members of the group traveled to Budapest. While in Budapest, we met with three Righteous Gentiles supported by the JFR. It was wonderful to catch up with the three ladies we visited. The last time Stanlee had visited with them was 10 years ago.
One of the rescuers, Aunt Katy as she calls herself, is featured in this month’s e-newsletter. When Stanlee last visited Aunt Katy in 2009, she did not have indoor plumbing. She had to walk outside to access a communal bathroom. Aunt Katy’s apartment is entered through an outdoor walkway. As a result of receiving financial support from the JFR, Aunt Katy now has her own bathroom with a sink, toilet, and shower! She no longer has to walk outside in the cold and rain.
The JFR’s documentary, Footsteps of My Father, was accepted at three film festivals. The California premiere of the documentary will be at the Coronado Island Film Festival, San Diego, CA, on Monday, November 11, 2019.
The South Carolina Jewish Film Festival has also accepted the documentary and will be screening Footsteps of My Father also on Monday, November 11, 2019. This will be the South Carolina premiere of the documentary. Monday, November 11 is Veterans Day and a perfect day to feature this documentary.
The DUMBO Film Festival, New York City, has accepted the documentary. As we get closer to these film festivals, we will provide additional information.
Our study guide is nearing completion. We would like to thank Amy McDonald (Lerner Fellow 2011) for bringing the “Resource for Teachers” to completion.
Usher in the New Year while at the same time supporting the work of The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous by sending a JFR eCard. Click here to schedule your eCards now! Rosh Hashanah starts September 29, 2019.
Please let us know how you are doing and consider writing a piece for the Alfred Lerner Fellows eNewsletter. If you have changed schools, please let us know so we may keep our records current.