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INTERFAITH HOLOCAUST COMMEMORATION EVENT FOR SENIORS ALSO HONORS LESSONS OF SLAVERY

Date: 04/28/2014 15:49

PRESS RELEASE

Contacts:  Arkadiy Fridman   718- 619-5891    afridman@siccnyc.org
                    Bill Taitt     347-526-1262   billtaitt@gmail.com

Holocaust survivor Barbara Viner, who will be speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event on April 28 in Stapleton, witnessed the atrocities of World War II as a young girl in western Ukraine.  She and her family faced hunger, fear, hard work and other hardships, even rape, in the Zhmerinka ghetto.  Her father Abram Viner was a partisan in the underground resistance movement in the ghetto, which housed over 5,000 Jews under Romanian occupation and managed to maintain a school and synagogue.  In this region of Vinniitsa, which housed headquarters for Adolf Hitler, over 120,000 Jews were killed.  Although some managed to flee, most were killed in Fall 1941 soon after the invasion of Russia by the German army. 

On Monday April 28, 2014, The Staten Island Community Center, in collaboration with The First Central Family Life Center, and the Stop Anti-Semitism Foundation, will host an event designed to commemorate the Holocaust, as well as remember the atrocities of American Slavery, and other past and present victims of genocide and persecution.  The Staten Island commemoration will start at 10:00 AM, at 135 Canal Street, Staten Island, New York 10304, site of the Golden Years Adult Day Care Center.  The program, which is open to the public, will include; the honoring of survivors from the Holocaust, a presentation from a diverse and distinguished panel, and the viewing of two videos comparing the similarities between the Nazi Era and the Holocaust and American Slavery and the Jim Crow era.

On a recent morning at the First Central Family Life Center, across the street from the Adult Day Care Center, Wagner College student Jennifer Beliard listened to testimonials from senior church members many of whom lived through the Jim Crow era in Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina, before coming to Staten Island in the 1970s.  They spoke of the need to find courage in the face of racism, segregation and humiliation in the South on the eve of the civil rights movement.  Sarah Williams, who works at Staten Island University Hospital with patients who are Holocaust survivors, told her own tragic family history.  Her great-great grandfather had been the son of a master, who split their family by selling his wife and one son to work on another plantation.  “If you hear a witness, you become a witness,” said Jennifer Beliard, who is creating a video of her interviews on the question “Why do we need to remember slavery and Jim Crow?” 
As Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel writes: “We are duty-bound to denounce anti-Semitism, racism, and religious or ethnic hatred.”  In Nazi-occupied Europe, over six million Jews were humiliated, isolated, tormented, tortured, and murdered.  The mentally-ill, Roma and Sinti (gypsies), Afro-Germans and Russian Prisoners of War were also victims.  During the era of slavery, 12 million Africans were forced from their homes, uprooted from their villages, separated from their families and kept in bondage for generations. The Jim Crow era institutionalized racism in the United States.   During the civil rights era, Jews and African-Americans often worked side-by-side to fight for justice.  Both the Holocaust and slavery cast dark shadows that we must remember and memorialize and we must educate. 
Presenters and panelists include: Pastor Carolina of the Central Family Life Center, Bill Taitt, Barbara Viner, Prof. Lori Weintrob and Rita Reynolds, History Department, Wagner College.  There will also be an open discussion as well as a question and answer period.  
Please make reservations by calling 718 8151101 or send an email to info@goldenyearsadcc.com.
Organizers:     Staten Island Community Center       www.siccnyc.org/‎
                          The First Central Family Life Center   www.centralfamilylifecenter.org/
                          Stop Anti-Semitism Foundation         www.stopantisemitism.org/

General Sponsor:  Golden Years Adult Day Care Center
…………………………………………………………………………..  
Sponsors:  Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations (COJECO)
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