A Heavy History


Not a week goes by that I don’t have a Holocaust- related book mailed to me. The amount of published documentation by survivors, their family members and historians continues to astound and assure me that this horrific chapter of our history will be remembered.

For this week’s cover story, Susan C. Ingram spoke to a few local Holocaust survivors about how they have worked to bear witness and ensure their experiences will be remembered after they’re gone. She tells the stories of Felicia Graber, who was born in Poland six months after the Nazis invaded; Martha Weiman, who witnessed Nazi soldiers storming her synagogue during Kristallnacht; and Goldie Kalib, who survived selection by Dr. Mengele and a death march to Bergen-Belsen.

With an estimated 195,000 survivors left worldwide — “a dwindling resource,” as one Baltimore Jewish Council official put it at a recent board meeting — the question is, what happens when there are no more survivors here to tell their stories?

The three women Susan spoke to have all told their stories through the BJC’s Baltimore Holocaust Remembrance Commission speakers bureau. Their histories have been written in books, and they remain active in the survivor community. Weiman’s daughters have also been active with the Baltimore Holocaust Survivors and Descendants group, the BJC Commission and at Yom HaShoah events. After getting their stories to the public through multiple avenues over recent decades, it is now the task of those who have heard those stories to honor their legacies of education and awareness.

Relatedly, Susan also has an update on the fate of Baltimore’s Holocaust Memorial, which may have a new neighbor in the coming years.

Elsewhere in the issue, Connor Graham reports on the JCC’s first Sukkah City, held on Sept. 27. Rabbi Jessy Dressin had heard about similar events in other cities and adapted the concept to Baltimore. There were 12 sukkahs — from organizations such as the Pearlstone Center, Krieger Schechter Day School and Mama Leah’s — all set up on a field at the Owings Mills JCC. Thanks to a tent next to the sukkahs, the rainy evening didn’t interrupt Dressin’s dream of having a vibrant community event to celebrate the joyous holiday with live music, ice cream and more.

And Jesse Bernstein reports on the one-year anniversary of the new Baltimore Clayworks. The nearly 40-year-old nonprofit ceramic arts center closed its doors briefly last year under financial duress. But a community-led effort helped the organization rebound and reopen. The city is renaming the block where the organization resides “Clayworks Way,” which will culminate in a ceremony and reception on Oct. 10.

Happy reading!


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