The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) Board of Trustees and staff mourn the passing of Roman Kent, the Foundation’s president, who passed away Friday, May 21, 2021, at his home in Manhattan at the age of 96. Click here to read more. Consider viewing JFR’s award-winning documentary on Roman’s story by clicking here.
Amy McDonald, JFR Alfred Lerner Fellow (2012) and JFR 2013 Robert I. Goldman Awardee (JFR’s Holocaust teacher of the year) from Birmingham, AL, recently published her second book on the Holocaust. We asked Amy to write about her journey. Amy’s books are available on Amazon.
I attended the JFR Summer Institute for Teachers at Columbia University in June, 2011. It’s really hard to believe that was ten years ago. In July, 2012, I went on the JFR European Study Program to Germany and Poland. These two experiences started me on a path in Holocaust Education I am still travelling today.
To make a long story very short, the JFR European Study Program inspired me to begin and learn the process of writing a book on Holocaust survivor, Max Steinmetz, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama. This two-year journey of writing and researching took me to the sites of Dachau, Kaufering, Landsberg, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and to Max’s hometown of Targu Lapus, Romania. One of the most powerful outcomes of this journey was locating the mass grave where Max’s younger brother, Henry, was buried. Max and Henry were both at Kaufering slave labor camp, a sub-camp of Dachau. In early February 1945, Henry was very sick and was unable to go to work. When Max returned from work that day, Henry was gone. All the camp doctor would tell Max was that Henry had died. Max never knew the whole story or where he was taken. A historian at the Kaufering/Landsberg memorial was able to confirm the location of the mass grave where Henry was buried. Max stated, “It is a closure. No question. Because now I won’t have to fight that part.”
The finished product is titled Determined to Survive: A Story of Survival and One Teacher’s Passion to Bring That Story to Life. The book has been well-received in Birmingham and is currently being used in classrooms through Alabama and the United States. Max Steinmetz passed away on March 4, 2021. He was 96 years old.
While attending the JFR Advanced Seminar in January, 2019, I had an interesting conversation with Sam Kassow; Holocaust scholar and author of Who Will Write Our History. With Professor Kassow’s input and encouragement over the past two years, I have recently completed a book geared for middle and high school students on the Emanuel Ringelblum Archive and the Warsaw ghetto. It is titled, Word Smugglers: A Story of Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto.
The JFR has been instrumental in making it possible for me to complete these projects and turn these ideas into a reality.
In May, the City of Warsaw, Poland, named a roundabout in honor of Polish Righteous Among the Nations. The roundabout is located at the intersection of Karmelicka and Anielewicza. We would like to acknowledge the efforts of Rabbi Michael Schudrich (Chief Rabbi of Poland), Piotr Wiślicki (President, Association Jewish Historical Institute of Poland), Rafał Trzaskowski (Mayor of Warsaw), Dr. Anna Bando (President of the Polish Society for the Righteous), and Artur Jóźwik (Warsaw’s head of the Office of Culture) for their efforts in making this naming possible.
Tricia Skelton, 2017 Alfred Lerner Fellow and recipient of the 2019 Robert I. Goldman Award (JFR’s Holocaust teacher of the year), teaches 6th grade English language arts and history at the Opelika Middle School in Opelika, Alabama. Tricia has shared the Holocaust poetry work of her students during their holocaust unit, with permission of their parents. Click here to see their work.
We hope you have been checking out our featured educators from across the country. Several months ago, the JFR began featuring Alfred Lerner Fellows in a new series called “Fellows in Focus.” Each Wednesday we highlight an outstanding educator! Please check out the JFR’s Facebook page on Wednesday to learn about a terrific teacher.
Teachers who attend the JFR’s Summer Institute for Teachers are known as Alfred Lerner Fellows.
In June we are featuring:
Rosie Sansalone from Cincinnati, Ohio – June 2, 2021
Bogdan Paraschivoiu from Boynton Beach, Florida – June 9, 2021
Barbara Daniel from Northfield, New Jersey – June 16, 2021
Pamela Moskal from Newberry, New Hampshire – June 23, 2021
Michelle Myers from Mt. Laurel, New Jersey – June 30, 2021
Click here to see May’s Fellows in Focus.
The JFR will be holding another film series this summer. The series will be held on Monday evenings at 8:00 p.m. ET. The documentaries will be shown on the JFR’s Facebook page. The film series will be announced in an email at the end of June.
If you change names, home address, telephone numbers, emails – please do let us know so we can keep your record current.