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Posted on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Holocaust victims to be remembered during annual memorial service

By Lisa Carolin

Survivors of the Holocaust in Ann Arbor will present a Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) memorial service on April 8 at the Jewish Community Center.


Digital artist Miriam Brysk uses images of real victims to create art on the Holocaust. Pictured is "Their Last Embrace."

Courtesy of the artist

The event will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor, 2935 Birch Hollow Drive.

It will be the second community-wide Holocaust Remembrance Day event. The purpose is to remember the massacre of 6 million European Jews during the Holocaust as well as some 5 million non-Jews.

Scott Spector, a professor of history, German and Judaic Studies, as well as the chair of Germanic Languages and Literature at the University of Michigan, will speak at the program. Survivors of the Holocaust will also share recollections of specific moments in their lives.

According to Miriam Brysk, a digital artist who uses images of real victims to create Art on the Holocaust the local group of Holocaust survivors was organized a couple of years ago.

"While Holocaust survivors have had associations in the Detroit area for many years with some participation from Ann Arbor residents, the local group deplored the lack of a meaningful commemoration of the Holocaust in Ann Arbor, unlike many smaller localities with fewer Jews," said Brysk. "We decided to mount our own and to lead it, making it community-wide without sectarianism."

Last year a dozen survivors spoke and about 180 people attended the event, a third of whom Brysk estimates were not Jewish. She expects a larger turnout this year.

"As survivors, we feel a moral obligation to remember those who perished, many in our own families," she said. "We were all children at that time, and our lives since have been plagued by the nightmares we experienced."

Brysk says that most of the older survivors are no longer alive and the number of child survivors is dwindling.

Brysk also will present two art programs in conjunction with Yom HaShoah, teaching the Holocaust through art, one at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Eastern Michigan University's Student Center Auditorium, and on at 3 p.m. on April 7 at the Jewish Community Center.

"We hope that Yom Ha Shoah remembrance will continue in Ann Arbor long after we are gone," said Brysk.


Henry Herskovitz

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

There are usually "The Five W's" contained in every news story: Who, What, Where, Why and When. This story omits the important "Why?". Why are crimes, which were committed in Europe almost 70 years ago, celebrated with such regularity in the United States? Why are there over thirty Holocaust museums in this country, yet no museums describing the horrors of the US slave trade in Europe, the same ocean away from where they were committed? One answer to "Why?" can be found in The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. Author Norman Finkelstein raises the topic of using the Holocaust to serve political interests. He writes, "The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world's most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a 'victim' state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status." There exist political reasons that such remembrances are celebrated, and readers are cautioned to explore the political ramifications of such events as the one described in this article. Former Knesset member Shulamit Aloni captures this political intent succinctly. She said to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! "Well, it's a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country people are criticizing Israel, then they are anti-Semitic." As people remember the fallen in any conflict, one should be aware of other agendas at play. (1) The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. Author Norman Finkelstein, p. 3. (2)

Colorado Sun

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 3:28 a.m.

One of Israel's great supporters locally, Stephen Pastner, passed away several weeks ago. A University of Pennsylvania graduate and faculty member at the University of Michigan, Pastner chronicled the local pro-Palestine crowd.

Hugh Giariola

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

Don't let anyone re-write history. This Holocaust story needs to be told and remembered.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Miriam Brysk and her husband Henry have been fixtures around Ann Arbor. Henry used to comment on the old Arbor Update blog. It is good to see that Jews as well as non-Jews are being remembered in this memorial. Poles and Gypsies were killed in large numbers during the Holocaust.