Israeli project Zikaron Basalon (Remember in the living room) is back for its third year. Zikaron Basalon brings the Holocaust memory by hosting a holocaust survivor or second generation in living rooms around the city on Holocaust memorial day. The living room sessions foster an open and intimate conversation. The unique and authentic tradition started in Israel, offers Columbus a new method to address the implications of the Holocaust.

Houses will be open in Bexley, Clintonville, Powell, New Albany (for 9th-12th grades), Reynoldsburg (for Russian speakers), Merion Village and Grandview  (for young adults), and Hillel OSU. The address for your location will be emailed to you by Thursday morning of the event.

For more information about OSU Hillel event contact Shirly for details at shirly@osuhillel.org

IT ALL STARTS WITH YOU: JewishColumbus is able to bring programs like Zikaron Basalon that remembers the Holocaust and brings people together to hear from Survivors and their children because of donors like you who gave to our Annual Campaign.

Since the venues are at individual homes, we will be emailing out the address location the morning of the event

Thanks to all the volunteers for opening their homes and their hearts and for our speakers.

Profiles on our speakers:

Malka Bendor‘s parents are Chaim and Leah Schepps. Leah ( Isacovic) was born in the city Slotinskeh Dollie in Czechoslovakia. In 1944 the Nazis came knocking on her family door when she was 14 years old and gave them 3 days to pack up and leave. Her mom had baked cookies so they would have some food but the food was taken away immediately. The family soon found themselves in a cattle wagon for three days and nights and arrived in Auschwitz Birkenau. There Leah witnessed the selection process. The Nazi soldier raised his right arm and if his thumb pointed right, people were going to the crematorium, if his thumb pointed to the left people were sent to the camp. Leah was supposed to go to the crematorium along with her mom, little brother and sister to the gas chambers but her sister pulled her out of line and her father, sister and Leah were sent to the work camp. Her mother’s last words were “Do not be afraid. someday you will have it very good and just don’t ever, ever forget us”. After 8 months the next selection process occurred. This time it was Dr. Mengele and she was sent to a camp to make bullets called Lansberg for 6 months. As the war was coming to a close Leah walked on the Death March but miraculously survived and was freed in May of 1945. Leah chose to go to Israel after the war, lived on a kibbutz for 2 years, served in the Israeli army,  and married Haim Schepps in 1951. The family moved to Cleveland in 1958. Leah got her Bachelor’s degree in Hebrew and taught for over 40 years.

Chaim Schepps was born in Warta, a small town in Poland. He was raised in a deeply religious and very Zionistic family.  Haim was physically very strong and his family always depended on him. When they started evacuating his home town, sending people to the Lodz ghetto Haim begged his parents and younger siblings to leave with him and his siblings to the Ghetto.  They did not join him and he never saw them again. In 1942 he went to the Lodz ghetto and he was always in survival mode making sure to steal bread and potato peels to feed his siblings. He promised his siblings would outlive the war. As the Germans realized the Russians were going to bomb Lodz and try to kill off everyone left,  Haim, his sister and brother hid and did not come out until the war ended. All 3 of them got on a ship to Israel. They thought the worst was over but the British would not let ships that left Italy into Israel and Haim and his shipmates went on an 84 hour hunger strike.  When that ended, Haim started his life in Israel, served in the Israeli army and married Leah. Together they have ( had) 3 children. They moved in 1958 to the USA where Haim built a business, never forgetting his roots.

Trudy Blumenstein knows that her parents, Salomon and Klara Hochmann, died in Auschwitz because their names are in Gedenkbuch: Memorial Book for the German Victims of the Holocaust, an official publication by the German government listing all known Holocaust victims. She bookmarked the page so she can find her parents among the millions of others.

Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, Blumenstein, her brother and parents fled the country for France after the Nazis came to power. Eventually, she was put on a train headed for a Roman Catholic convent in Chimay, France. At the convent, Blumenstein was one of 125 children, 25 of them Jews. She received a different name, Therese Hogge, a Catholic education and upbringing. She was solemnly forbidden from telling anyone she was Jewish, lest she or the nuns be killed by the Nazis.

Debbie Ecker‘s parents, Kenneth Pitluk and Sally Kubel Pitluk were the sole survivors of each of their families. Sally grew up in Plonsk Poland, where her parents and 2 brothers were ordered to move into the ghetto. Deportations from the ghetto to Auschwitz began in July, 1942. Sally was taken in one of the last transports. Pretending to be a nurse, she was saved from the gas chambers. In January, 1945 she was taken out of Auschwitz to embark on the Death March. On April 27, 1945, Sally was liberated by the Americans.

Kenneth Pitluk was born in 1911 in Knyzyn Poland. He was a successful businessman as the owner of cheese factories. He had five siblings and a wife. Amid rumors that the town was about to be taken to Treblinka, a death camp, Kenneth hid his family in a potato cellar on the outskirts of town. They were eventually found out and forced into a cattle train to Treblinka. Kenneth and 2 of his brothers jumped off the train. His brothers were shot and killed. Kenneth survived the next 3 years as a Partisan in the forest.

Henry Fenichel and his mother were sent to the Westerbork Detention Camp when Henry was six. After being moved to Bergen Belsen, they requested relocation to British-mandate Palestine. With the help of a Swiss forger, they were exchanged for German civilians held abroad and escaped to Palestine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrK7kWYF5a4

Fred Summer is the eldest son of Judith Summer.  His father obtained false papers for Fred’s mother so that she could go to a rural area to work as a governess for a Christian family.  After she had removed her yellow star and was preparing to leave, the concierge of their apartment turned her and Fred’s grandfather in to the Gestapo.  His mother and grandfather ended up on the first Hungarian transport to Auschwitz.  She spent a year there, survived a long march to Ravensbruck and ultimately was allowed to escape when being transported to the Sudetenland in the Czechoslovakia.

Lynne Garfinkel is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors Max and Trude Heller. Lynne and her husband Mike will share the remarkable story of Max and Trude’s childhoods in Austria, their harrowing escapes, the phenomenal lives they led in the United States and the impact of their lives and work in their adopted hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, which continues today. Trude, age 97, still speaks to youth and community groups in South Carolina and will be ‘present’ at the event (via video).

Fran Greenberg was born in Paris, France in 1937. Fran’s father was rounded up in one of the early raids on Jewish families in Paris. He was ultimately sent to Auschwitz in 1942. During the war, Fran and her sister were sent to a series of foster homes with grim conditions. Fran survived the war in a Catholic children’s hospital after she was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Sandy Hackman is a child of Holocaust Survivors. Both of her parents were Holocaust survivors. Sandy’s mother lived in an exclusively Jewish shtetl called Trochenbrod in Poland. As a young girl, Sandy’s mother spoke to her about life before, during and after the war. Her family, remarkably, survived the extermination of 5,000 fellow residents who died in the killing fields.

Aron Ross was born in a displaced persons camp for refugees outside of Linz, Austria in July 1948.  His mother and father (Sara and Jacob Rosjanski) had survived the Holocaust by joining a Jewish Partisan group hiding in the forests in what was then Eastern Poland (and today Western Belarus where the borders of Belarus, Poland and Ukraine meet).  They then escaped from the Soviet occupation behind the Iron Curtain into the American sector.   He was 3 years old when his family immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio to join his Uncle and Aunt.  In America, his father’s battle with Parkinson’s disease disabled him, and his mother became his full time caregiver, along with raising Aron and his older brother Abe.   The boys graduated from the Cincinnati Public Schools and attended the University of Cincinnati.  Abe recently retired from his career as a physician and Aron recently retired from his career as a public school administrator.  Jacob died at age 56 in 1965 and Sara died at age 92 in 2005. They were heroes!

Ingrid Silvian is the author of “The Piano Tuner’s Daughter: My Best friend”

Her memorable story for children helps them understand what it was really like to live through events of WWII and, how children just like them, adapt and survive.

Through vignettes in the lives of two young girl friends, one Jewish, one Christian, we experience how everything changed when the Nazis came. Silvian provides a child’s eye view of war, both mundane and profound a shift from marbles to shrapnel as the treasure of choice; racing to catch the last train carrying evacuees out of the city and ultimately, who was saved and who was sacrificed.

At a time when many of the first hand witnesses of this chilling chapter of history are passing away, Silvian’s story provides a valuable link that reaches across generations that will live on in the hearts and minds of a new generation of children.

Debbi Dach Sugarman is the Daughter of Morris Dach z”l who was born in Plonsk,Poland in 1923. In 1942 Morris, his parents and his 3 older brothers were deported from the Plonsk Ghetto to Auschwitz Birkenau. Debbie’s father was the only survivor.