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“Resistance: Jewish Resistance and Rescue during the Holocaust”

Free and Open to the Public.
You are welcome to attend any of the lectures, please join us!

7:00 p.m. - Film “Who Will Write Our History?” with Comments from Director Roberta Grossman (Regency Room in AUC)

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Refreshments in lobby following film
9:00 a.m. – Registration (Grey Area/lobby, AUC)
10:00 - 11:35 a.m. – Ghettos and Resistance Work (Regency Room, AUC) Panel sponsored by Steve Baral

“Telling Their Own Stories: Jewish Victim Diaries and Archives in the Warsaw and Vilna Ghettos” – Amy Simon
This presentation explores the ways in which Yiddish diarists writing in the Warsaw and Vilna ghettos conceptualized their testimonial endeavors both individually and as part of larger archival projects in their respective ghettos. It addresses three major questions: “Why did they write? How did they write? For whom did they write?” Answering these questions reveals the thought processes of the diarists and their conceptions of what it meant to record their experiences during the Holocaust, highlighting the agency they sought to take over the narratives of their own lives.

“Women in Resistance: Fierce Females – the Couriers” – Sheryl Ochayon
Women were often at the very heart of resistance, whether spiritual, cultural or armed. In this session we will focus on the role women played in armed resistance by serving as “couriers” between ghettos and resistance movements. This story has largely remained in the shadows or, perhaps, been overshadowed by the stories of armed resistance in the ghettos of Europe. Yet armed resistance in the ghettos would never have become a reality had it not been for these fearless and fierce Jewish girls and women. We will tell their stories.

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11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. – Mayer Summer Research Fellow Presentations (Room 133, AUC)

Mayer Summer Research Fellows will offer brief overviews of their summer research projects.

Kurt Mayer Summer Research Fellows:

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12:40 - 1:35 p.m. – Spiritual Resistance (Regency Room, AUC)

Heather Klein, songs by inmates of ghettos-performing songs

“Why was this Seder different from all other Seders?  –The Gurs Haggadah and Passover in a Concentration Camp” – Rabbi Bruce Kadden
In 1941, Jewish inmates in the Gurs Concentration Camp in southern France were able to celebrate Passover using a Hagaddah handwritten by one of the prisoners.  The Gurs Hagaddah and the Passover observance in the camp in 1941 are examples of spiritual resistance during the Holocaust.

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  • Marit Trelstad, Professor of Constructive and Lutheran Theologies, PLU

1:45 - 3:25 p.m. – Rescue Work as Resistance (Regency Room, AUC)

“The Kalb Rescue Mission” – Judith Cohen
The story of Jewish rescuers has gone largely unreported. However, in every country, Jews worked tirelessly to protect and save other Jews. Ben-Zion Kalb was one such Jewish rescuer. With the assistance of the leadership of the Jewish Working Group of Slovakia, he helped smuggle hundreds of Polish Jews across the border to relative safety.

“Hiding in Broad Daylight: Gender and Religion in the Story of a Dutch Rescuer” – Raymond Sun
Carla (Olman) Peperzak was only 18 when she began her work in the Dutch Resistance in 1942. She was also Jewish, making her a rare example of a female, Jewish Holocaust rescuer-survivor. Based upon extensive personal interviews, this paper explores the layers of deceptive and/or conflicted gendered and religious identities that Peperzak employed, embraced, or rejected during her rescue work. This talk contributes toward a more integrated and nuanced understanding of the complexity, and the costs, of Holocaust rescue while drawing attention to the agency of Jewish women in resistance to the Nazis’ genocidal ambitions.

“Quaker Relief and Rescue: Roswell and Marjorie McClelland’s Work in World War II Europe.” – Kelly Palmer
We will examine how the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) provided relief and emigration assistance to European Jews facing Nazi persecution in Italy, France and Switzerland by focusing on the efforts of Roswell and Marjorie McClelland from 1941-1943. Their work sheds light on the complexities of doing rescue and relief work in Nazi-collaborationist Europe.

 

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3:45 - 5:00 p.m. – Rescue and Resistance (Regency Room, AUC)

“Jewish Rescuers of Jews in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and Chabannes” – Patrick Henry
I will talk in general about the rescue work of the Jewish Children’s Welfare organization, “Oeuvre de secours aux enfants” and specifically about persons from that organization who worked in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and Chabannes. I will show brief interviews with four of those rescuers. I will end my talk by stressing why it is important to emphasize Jewish resistance and why it is essential to understand non-violent rescue as resistance.

“Jewish Women in the Dutch Resistance” – Judith van Praag
While there was no per se Jewish organized Resistance in the Netherlands, many Jewish men and women joined the Dutch Resistance. They resisted the Nazi rule on many different plains, as couriers, forgers of documents, even hiding other Jews next to homes of collaborators or Nazis. Talk about hiding, that was an act of resistance in itself, as was fleeing the continent. Some stories were documented, and some of those made into films or documentaries. Judith van Praag is related to many of the Jewish women in the Dutch Resistance, humbled by the roles they played, and thankful for the chance to keep their memory alive by sharing some of their names and stories.

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5:00 - 6:45 p.m. – Dinner Break (Scandinavian Center, AUC)

7 p.m. – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt (Regency Room, AUC)

“Facing the Gorgon: Reflections on Jewish Resistance in the German Death Camps” sponsored by Sam Brill in honor of his mother, Edna Brill

 

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8:15 p.m. – Dessert Reception (Regency lobby, AUC)
8:30 a.m. – Registration (Regency Lobby, Anderson University Center)
9:00 - 10:15 a.m. – Multifaceted Types of Resistance (Regency Room, AUC)

“Women and the Multifaceted Nature of Resistance in the Nazi Concentration Camps”– Paul Bartrop
This paper looks at a number of approaches to resisting the Nazis undertaken by women in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. Several initiatives can be considered. These range from planned and deliberate acts abetting armed confrontation; to saving lives through the positive adoption of means intended to thwart Nazi policies; to finding ways to pass messages from one part of the camp to another; to the very rare cases of escape; to myriad acts of helping to maintain morale that served to crack the edifice of Nazi-imposed terror.
By examining these approaches to resistance, the paper will argue that physical confrontation took numerous forms beyond that of combat and that each, in their way, enabled women to take some measure of control over their fate in an environment in which survival and success were in no sense guaranteed.

“A Little Spark of Light Before Their Death: Organized Soccer as Resistance During Nazi Terror” – Kevin E. Simpson
As the world’s game, soccer captivates the dreams and imaginations of untold millions. Passion for the game first intensified in the 1930s and 40s at precisely the moment fascism was on the rise and Europe was careening towards war. This presentation addresses the legacy of the Holocaust through the telling of the story of ‘soccer under the swastika’ in the concentration camps, ghettos and occupied lands of the Nazi state.

As an antechamber to Auschwitz-Birkenau and the origin site of one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious propaganda films, the transit ghetto-camp of Terezín (Theresienstadt) in Czechoslovakia is a centerpiece of the story of soccer under the Third Reich. But we will also venture beyond the well-known accounts of soccer in Terezin to include stories of prisoner-athletes from the Netherlands to Ukraine who fought back on the fields of competition.

By including poignant memoir accounts of life and soccer under Nazi terror, we witness the life-sustaining effects of resistance through sport that emerged in these destinations of destruction. From those who often played the game simply for the joy of competing to those who played in order to secure favored status and thereby survive the murder machinery, soccer was more than an idle pursuit during the Holocaust.

“Orchestrating Resistance: The Jüdischer Kulturbund, 1933-1941 ” – Lexi Jason
As Jews were pushed farther in the margins of society and excluded from various aspects of public life, they sought methods in which to keep themselves employed and occupied. In the midst of the restrictions emerged the Judischer Kulturbund, or the Jewish Culture League. This league, which the Nazis knew about and supervised, created a unique stage on which members of the Jewish community were able to perform (forbidden) Jewish music and attend the orchestra, both activities that were they were restricted from doing outside of the Kulturbund.

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10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. – Music as Resistance (Regency Room, AUC)

“What, Exactly, Is Holocaust Related Music” – Nick Strimple
Musical activities in Theresienstadt, Auschwitz-Birkenau and some of the larger war-time ghettos in Poland and Lithuania are well documented. But, in addition, musical performance was common in the western transit camps, Italian camps, and civilian internment camps with Jewish populations. Was the music always of Jewish origin? This presentation will examine the question as it applies to all the camps and ghettos and provide programming guidelines.

“Terezin and the Art of Defiance” – Murry Sidlin
This is the story of the Terezin composer. Those who created new music. They compose, they share, they perform, but unless you are a Terezin arts scholar, or have studied music in the Holocaust era, most if not all of these names, and the compositions we will look at today will be new to you. I divide the compositions into 9 chapters as I see them: Longing, Hope, the messenger, fate, the eyewitness, pure entertainment, the broken heart, censored, in memoriam. This lecture, which includes some video and audio recordings, introduces through the art of music the affirmation of life and living for the Terezin prisoner.

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12:15 - 12:45 p.m. – Polish Resistance Fighter and Decorated War Hero

“Kaytek” A Little Girl from the Warsaw Ghetto who Became a Polish Resistance Fighter and Decorated War Hero – Janet and Sam Brill
Dr. Janet Brill (with her husband Sam) presents the astonishing story of his mother, Edna Brill. A five-year-old little girl, born at Mila 18, was among the 1 percent of Polish Jews who evaded death at the hands of the Nazis between 1939 and 1945. Edna was written about in the 1962 book “The Cigarette Sellers of Three Crosses Square,” and appeared in the recent documentary “Little Heroes from the Warsaw Ghetto.” She was one of a group of children who escaped the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 by creating Catholic aliases, peddling cigarettes and singing and dancing in the streets on the Aryan side to survive. Stefcia Skolkowska became the youngest ‘Christian’ soldier for the Polish Home Army, where she participated as a “runner” during the Warsaw uprising resistance movement. (“Kaytek” was her nom de guerre.) After being captured by the Germans, she was shipped to the German POW camp, Bergen-Belsen (Stalag XI-B)—a part of the camp being used for women from the Polish Home Army. The Poles awarded her two medals of honor, one for bravery and the other for being wounded by a grenade. In Italy, Stefcia was presented to the Pope as a Christian Polish hero (age 12) where she was personally awarded a papal medal for bravery. Sadly, Edna passed away on June 8, 2019.

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12:50 - 2:00 p.m. – Second Generation Survivors Speak (CK, AUC)

“My Father, Martin Baral: A Boy from the Krakow Ghetto”
Steven Baral presents the inspirational story of his father Martin Baral, bringing together family stories, photos, documents, and video. Four different courageous rescuers — including Oskar Schindler — came to the aid of the Baral family during the Holocaust, helping them to escape the Krakow Ghetto, hide in Nazi-occupied Poland and Hungary, travel through Europe and Palestine, and eventually find a home in Australia.

Presenter:

  • Steven Baral, Legacy Speaker with the Holocaust Center for Humanity Speakers Bureau

Moderator:

  • Dee Simon, Director, Holocaust Center for Humanity