East Valley Jewish Community Center - Holocaust Railcar Exhibit
These events are brought to you by Chandler-Gilbert Community College, East Valley Jewish Community Center and the City of Chandler to honor the lives taken by genocide and to educate others so that it never happens again.
All events are open to the public.
3/29/2016 - Tuesday - 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Valerie Foster, Pecos Campus, Agave Community Room
is an educator, author of The Risk of Sorrow: Conversations with Holocaust Survivor, Helen Handler
, and a recipient of the Shofar Zakhor award for Holocaust Education. Valerie taught high school English for thirty years and currently holds an adjunct faculty position at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona, teaching future teachers. Her previous writing includes a memoir, Dancing With a Demon
, and a short story, “Loss,” published in the River Poets Anthology
3/30/2016 - Wednesday - 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
George Kalman, Holocaust Survivor
Holocaust survivor, George Kalman, spent his early years of childhood in a small village South East of Hungary. In his village there was no running water, the houses were made from mud bricks, and there was only one paved street. In 1933 Hitler was appointed the Chancellor of Germany by President Paul Von Hindenburg. As the Nazi party grew in power, daily life for Jews across Europe became more difficult. Slowly the most basic rights were stripped away from the Jews. For Kalman, it was in 1944 that his family got the order to leave their Hungarian village on a rail car. He was among 81 Jews squeezed into a cattle car with nowhere to sit, no toilets, no water, food, and a lack of air.
His mother and grandfather were later transported to a farming and slave labor camp in Austria, which the Soviet army liberated 10 months later.
Kalman was taken to a camp of 35 prisoners, where he took care of farm animals, harvested vegetables and "essentially did farm work." Kalman has said that he was one of the lucky ones.
April 2nd, 1945 the first soviet soldiers entered into the camp, and it was in that moment that Kalman felt that they were finally free. He returned to his Hungarian village, with his family, to meet one of his uncles who had survived a forced labor camp. It was there that they waited for Kalman’s father and another uncle to return, but they never did.
Today he speaks regularly to groups about his experience and he likes to encourage his listeners to not be afraid to speak up during bad times, even if they are in the minority.
Kalman quotes the Rev. Martin Niemoller, a German pastor, on the rise of Nazism: "In Germany, the Nazis came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time, there was no one left to speak for me.''
After retiring, he now fills his time teaching Torah at Beth Ami Temple, playing bridge, and visiting his children in Colorado. He also speaks to students about the Holocaust. “There’s not that much time,” he says. “My generation is the last one. Maybe another couple of years. That’s all.”
3/31/2016 - Thursday - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Helen (Hana) Weisman, Pecos Campus, Agave Community Room
was born in Ulm, Germany in a displaced persons camp. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Helen moved to Israel when she was nine months old, where she was known as Hana Don. She later came to American at 13.
Many of Helen’s well-known oil paintings are directly linked to her strong Jewish heritage. She has a collection of 31 Holocaust paintings called “Das Ghetto & The Final Solution” which was exhibited at many museums, schools and other venues. Helen’s work is “free, vivid, and imaginative like her modern collages and abstracts. She magically places feelings an fantasy on canvas for all to appreciate.
Helen (Hana) Weisman is inspired by her love for life and the excitement brought by each new day. Through her sense of color and design, she expresses this love and undaunted energy and inspiration. Helen has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from National Lewis University. She has been a docent for the last 11 years at the original Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie and continues in that role, as well as one the board and various committees, at the new world class Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie.