Now is the time to book a virtual Holocaust survivor testimony program for your class
The summer may feel “endless,” but we at HAMEC are busy preparing for the school year ahead. Approximately 14 States now mandate Holocaust Education–and that list is growing. HAMEC is ready to provide virtual programs for your school, congregation and civic group. Wherever you are – be it the United States, Canada, India or Australia – we can to serve you world-wide.
Through Google Meet, Skype and Zoom, we can bring the latest in Holocaust education to you. Request a program today.
Japan funds save Lithuania museum on diplomat who saved Jews
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — A museum in Lithuania dedicated to a Japanese diplomat who helped thousands of Jews flee Europe in the early years of World War II has been extended an economic lifeline by people in Japan, officials said Friday.
The memorial museum in Lithuania’s former capital recounts the story of Chiune Sugihara, who was a vice-consul diplomat based at the Japanese Consulate in Kaunas during 1939-1940. Its small collection is housed in the villa that once served as the consulate.
The brake the coronavirus pandemic slammed on international travel has put the small museum, like other cultural institutions and tourist destinations around the world, under intense economic pressure.
“Tickets sales are our main income resource. Japanese used to make up 85% of the visitors. Now, the visitors from Japan are gone, so is our income” museum director Ramunas Janulaitis said.
However, people from Gifu Prefecture on the Japanese island of Honshu, where Sugihara was born, raised some 30,000 euros (about $35,600) to help the museum survive the pandemic.
“We expect to raise another 40,000 (euros) in the autumn” Japanese Ambassador Shiro Yamasaki said.
Both the Soviet Union and Germany occupied Lithuania during the war. The Soviets annexed the Baltic nation, which become independent in 1990.
During his time at the consulate in Kaunas, Sugihara issued transit visas to Japan to nearly 6,000 Jewish refugees, mainly from neighboring Poland. The 10-day visas he supplied without the approval of Japan’s Foreign Ministry enabled the refugees to escape and survive the Holocaust.
Sugihara was reassigned elsewhere in Europe, and when he returned to Japan in 1947, he was fired. He died in 1986.
Created in 1999, the museum honoring his courageous actions exhibits the life and work of Sugihara, The villa was decorated to recreate what it looked like during his time serving there. The names of Jews to whom he is known to have granted visas also are displayed.
The government in Lithuania, the southernmost Baltic country that once was the home to a large Jewish community, has declared 2020 as “the year of Chiune Sugihara.”
We are sad to share with you that local Holocaust survivor and HAMEC speaker Manya Perel passed away on July 29th, 2020. May her memory be a blessing.
Manya was one of the most dedicated speakers and educators we have had the pleasure to work with and learn from. As a survivor of 8 concentration camps, including Auschwitz, she dedicated her life to educating students about the terrible consequences of unbridled hatred and the lessons of the Holocaust. Of course, family came first for Manya, as a devoted wife, mother, and great grandmother she also set an amazing example of what we should all strive to be. She was loving, tough, smart, and dedicated. We, who loved her, will miss her. The thousands of young lives she touched and changed will be part of her wonderful legacy.
HAMEC Education Director Geoff Quinn says of Manya, “I loved going out with Manya to watch her share her story with students. She was always so proud of every student who she spoke with, and always greeted every teacher and student with excitement and pride for hearing her speak. After every school visit, as we would leave the school full of the lives she touched, she would tell me “mission accomplished!” It was truly a blessing to work with such an amazing person and friend.”
“It was an honor knowing and working with Manya Perel these past 11 years. She was a very special woman, determined to share her legacy of survival with as many people as she could. Some of my fondest memories are dancing with her at the Association of Holocaust Survivor dinners,” said Beth Razin, who works on Holocaust education programs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s JCRC.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions in her memory be made to the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center. Suite 203/205 8339 Old York Road Elkins Park, PA 19027 firstname.lastname@example.org
Manya, the youngest of ten children, grew up in Poland. During the war, she survived eight concentration camps and lost her parents and five of her siblings. She felt it was her mission to tell her story so that such atrocities should not happen again. She touched the lives of thousands of students by sharing her testimony. She is survived by her children, Marvin (Lois) Perel and Sylvia (Mark) Wagman; grandchildren, Evan (Yael Aschner), Andrew, and Daniel Perel, Rina (Andrew Schwartz) and Jeffrey Wagman; and great granddaughters, Talia and Mira Perel. Burial will take place in a private ceremony at Shalom Memorial Park in Huntingdon Valley, PA.