12 September 2010

New York: Ancestral home memories, Sept. 19

A panel of presenters will discuss post-Holocaust life in ancestral towns, personal experiences, impressions and stories, at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York, on Sunday, September 19.

The meeting begins at 2pm, at Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street

The panel includes Professors Mihai Grunfeld, Mimi Schwartz, Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer, with moderator Renee Steinig.

A Vassar College professor of Spanish and Latin American literature, Mihai Grunfeld ("Leaving, Memories of Romania") offers a rich and stimulating account of growing up in post-war Romania, haunted by the Holocaust his parents do not speak about. At age 18, he and his brother travel to Czechoslovakia and escape to Austria, Their journey takes them through several countries and finally the US where he settles.

Mimi Schwartz ("Good Neighbors, Bad Times, Echoes of My Father’s German Village") grew up in America, hearing her father’s boyhood stories about his German village. Only when she heard about the remarkable story of the Torah being rescued by Christians on Kristallnacht, did she begin to understand what these stories mean. For 12 years, she traveled seeking answers, collecting stories, checking historical records. She is the author of five books and numerous essays, and is a professor emerita at Richard Stockton College (New Jersey) where she teaches workshops in memoir and creative nonfiction.

Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer (husband-and-wife co-authors, "Ghosts of Home, The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory") will narrate an exciting multilayered tour of Czernowitz, through story-telling, part history and part memoir, that includes voices of parents, survivors, and witnesses. It is also a delicate and moving story of how individuals connect to each other, giving us back the richness and frailty of the past. Hirsch, the daughter of Czernowitz Holocaust survivors, is a Columbia University Professor of English and Comparative Literature and director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She is the author of many books. Spitzer, a historian, Kathe Tappe Vernon professor of History Emeritus at Dartmouth College and has authored many books, most recently "Hotel Bolivia: A Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism."

The CJH Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute will open at 11am for networking with other researchers and access to research materials and computers.

For more information, click here.

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