An Afternoon with Our Survivors—Chhange Honors Local Holocaust Survivors

Local Holocaust Survivors are a cornerstone of the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education (Chhange). Chhange’s first program in May 1979 featured Arno Penzias, a Kindertransport survivor and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work towards understanding the Big Bang. On July 25, 2018, Chhange continued their tradition of honoring local Holocaust Survivors with their annual event, An Afternoon with Our Survivors. This event, held each summer, brings together Holocaust Survivors and their descendants from Monmouth and Ocean counties for an afternoon of kosher food, commemoration, and community building. This year, 21 Holocaust Survivors and their loved ones attended the event, which was held in the Navesink Rooms at Brookdale Community College.

Mimi Werbler, the daughter and daughter-in-law of Holocaust Survivors, organizes the event each year. Mimi is a Board Member of Chhange and the leader of their Generations: Descendants of Holocaust Survivors group, which strives to connect Second and Third Generation descendants across New Jersey. Joined by Generations member Susan Diamond, and Board Member JoAnn Abraham, Mimi served the kosher supper provided by Lox, Stock, & Deli of Milltown, NJ. Chhange’s Executive Director, Dale Daniels, greeted each of the Holocaust Survivors, some of whom she’s known for decades, individually before addressing her guests. “Survivors are the foundation of what we do,” Daniels told the gathering, before thanking them for being a part of the evening.

Many of the Survivors in attendance are a part of Chhange’s Speakers Bureau. Eva Wiener, a child survivor aboard the MS St. Louis, speaks at schools across Monmouth and Ocean Counties, sharing her testimony and stories of her parents. She spent the afternoon with her husband, Howard, and good friends Joann and Milan Schwartz. Milan is also a child survivor, who recently joined our Speakers Bureau. He discusses his mother’s difficulty trying to protect two young boys in the concentration camps. Milan serves as the chairman of Chhange’s Yom HaShoah Commemoration Committee. Claire Boren, a Chhange Board Member and hidden child from Poland, is a well-known artist who uses abstract art to share her testimony. She is an essential part of Chhange’s Annual Student Art Installation.

Chhange was glad to welcome new attendees to this year’s An Afternoon with Our Survivors. Lynn Behar, invited by Susan Diamond, was a child survivor in Poland who was hidden by her mother’s maid throughout the Holocaust. She attended the dinner with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Lynn carried her mother’s memoir And the Sun Kept Shining, which details her mother’s time in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. And the Sun Kept Shining includes a forward by Menachem Rosensaft, a renowned scholar who spoke at Chhange last October during the Generations Brunch. Rhoda Kuflik, another new attendee, has spoken at elementary schools in New Jersey, New York, and Florida. Her memoir, I Remember: A Miraculous Story of Survival, is a young reader’s book that details the journey of Rhoda’s family from Poland throughout Europe as they tried to escape the Holocaust.

Rooted in its long history of Holocaust and genocide education, Chhange is a premiere resource in New Jersey for their Speakers Bureau, which includes over a dozen Holocaust Survivors, their Survivor Curriculum Suitcases and Scrapbooks, featuring the lives of nine local Holocaust Survivors, and their new exhibit Journeys Beyond Genocide: The Human Experience, which provides students and visitors the opportunity to engage with the full life stories of local survivors of the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Each year, Chhange educates over 25,000 students, educators, and community members about the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights, empowering them to stand up to injustice. To learn more, please visit their website

Chhange educates, inspires, and empowers individuals to stand up to injustice.