May 9, 2015 |
These days, when Sipora Groen travels, it's work. In between bar mitzvahs, graduations, and a Mother's Day reunion at the Jersey Shore, Groen has also been visiting local schools and congregations to tell her story of love and survival during the Holocaust. Sipora Rodrigues-Lopes was a young nurse in Amsterdam when the German occupation began. She was one of only 30,000 Dutch Jews - one in four - to survive the Nazis. The war took all her close relatives, her fiancee, her home, and her possessions, but also introduced her to the man who would become her husband.
April 15, 2015 |
Esther Terner Raab was among the 300 prisoners who on Oct. 14, 1943, escaped from Sobibor, the Nazi death camp in Poland. Mrs. Raab years later served as a consultant on the Belgrade set of Escape From Sobibor , the three-hour TV movie shown on the CBS network in 1987. A stage play about her, Dear Esther, was performed in 1998 at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and is performed regularly for student audiences in the Philadelphia region. She traveled often to testify at trials in Germany of concentration camp officials, a son, Abe, said.
April 4, 2015
ISSUE | TAX HIKES Council incumbents, stand ground now I am appalled that City Council incumbents running for reelection are not acting on the city budget - especially its proposed 9.34 percent property tax increase - until after the May primary ("Council a no-go on tax boost," April 1). Haven't we given the schools an extra $200 million for the past several years? What are they doing with the money? If they cared about education, they would make use of the stored books and other equipment just going to waste.
March 31, 2015 |
As a 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier in the all-black 183d Combat Engineers Battalion, Leon Bass arrived at the Nazis' Buchenwald extermination camp just one day after it had been liberated in April 1945. Bass saw the living skeletons of those who survived. The camp reeked of burned human flesh. The torture chambers were still covered in blood. After the war, Bass left the Army as a sergeant, returned to Philadelphia, and eventually became principal of Benjamin Franklin High School.
March 25, 2015 |
True commemorations of the Holocaust are, by definition, borderline unbearable: Its atrocities loom larger in history as time goes on. Musically, Leonard Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony achieves much poetic truth, as narrated by Holocaust survivor Samuel Pisar. But Stephen Paulus' To Be Certain of the Dawn goes further with greater dramatic specificity, in ways that are simultaneously epic and intimate. It was performed over the weekend by massed choral forces and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia under the sure direction of Jeffrey Brillhart.
March 19, 2015 |
Willy Herbst, 93, of Philadelphia, a Holocaust survivor who later helped free prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp, died Tuesday, March 10, of complications from a hip fracture at the Hearth at Drexel in Bala Cynwyd. Mr. Herbst was born in Zaberfeld, Germany, and trained as a baker in Heidelberg. In 1939, at 18, he was among the Jewish men sent to the Paderborn concentration camp by the Nazis to perform forced labor. According to an oral history Mr. Herbst gave the Jewish Virtual Library, he collapsed while being marched to a quarry in late 1939.
January 20, 2015 |
The top of a tattooed number 6 is still visible on his left forearm. David Wisnia had the rest of "83526" removed by a plastic surgeon. It was a reminder of three dark years spent in the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he witnessed unimaginable horrors. Wisnia, 88, of Levittown, remembers collecting bodies of fellow prisoners who had tried to escape and were gunned down. He recalls his Nazi captors' orders to retrieve money and valuables from the clothes shed by countless people before they were shot or gassed.
November 19, 2014 |
JOHN McGOUGH was confused, and not a little bit angry. He was a loyal Irish Catholic; he had been in a seminary; he had been in the Army. Why hadn't he been hearing about the Holocaust? How come nobody he had known was talking about what he had come to see as the greatest human horror story of all time? Nazi Germany had methodically exterminated 6 million Jews in the greatest genocide of the 20th century. John set out to find out all he could about this horror story, and wound up devoted to spreading the word, through teaching, lecturing, writing.
November 11, 2014 |
The fields, at first, appear unremarkable. These mass graves from the Holocaust weren't supposed to stick out. But the Rev. Patrick Desbois has devoted his life to finding them. Slowly, during visits to barren landscapes across Eastern Europe, the French priest will uncover artifacts hinting at the horrors that took place there decades ago: A shard of jewelry left tossed in a bush. A shell casing covered by overgrown grass. What Desbois finds most often, however, are stories from local villagers - witnesses who've remained and told him what they remember.
October 3, 2014 |
JUDY Spitzer suffered through two great upheavals in her life, one caused by human venality and the other by nature. As a teenager, she was caught up in the Holocaust, but managed through guts and ingenuity to escape the Nazis, who murdered her father and other family members. Then, 70 years later, Hurricane Katrina drove her and her husband out of New Orleans, where they were teaching at a medical school. Finally settling in the relative peace of the Philadelphia area, Judy could look back on a life of accomplishment realized in the toils of catastrophes that might have wrecked less fearless souls.