Posted by Jon Federman
Recently, Lora Tarlin, Director of Schechter Holocaust Services, toured the International Museum of World War II in Natick, along with 27 survivors, many of whom are also JF&CS clients. The tour was originally conceived by JF&CS Past President David Schechter and American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston Past President Izzy Arbeiter.
"When Izzy Arbeiter, the founder of the Holocaust Services program, first brought me to The Museum of World War II some years ago, we discussed putting together a survivor's group to visit," says Schechter. "However it was not until recently, when the Museum hired its new Education Director, Susan Wilkins, that we had a staff person to coordinate the trip. It was Susan working with Lora at JF&CS, Judi Bohn at Facing History and Ourselves, Emily Reichman at JCRC, and especially Janet Stein, the President of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston that allowed the trip to be a success."
Tarlin describes walking through history with people who lived the Holocaust as "bittersweet." The museum documents how Jews were excluded from everyday life, with survivors describing their experiences in their own words.
"The pain these people endured is beyond comprehension, yet they are able to teach us and our children about anti-Semitism," Tarlin explains. "We can hear about their families and the horrors, but only they remember their experiences. Our job is to listen and retell the story so that these events are never forgotten. These people themselves are the history.
"Today, as many as one-third of all survivors live below the poverty level. We need to make sure that survivors are cared for and never suffer such pain again. The exhibits show how people were tormented.
"After visiting the museum, I was struck by how important it is that we ensure our survivors have basic needs met: heat, food and clothing. Seeing the reactions of the survivors, it reaffirmed to me why we need to come together to help this population now."
"The trip was important in the life of the community of survivors as well as the Museum itself," adds Schechter. "As Janet Stein said in her remarks, ‘The Survivors who are here know this history; they lived it. Rather, it is the recognition of the centrality of the Holocaust to the history of the Second World War, that makes this Museum and this day an important milestone for both.'"
"The time is now to make sure that those who survived the Holocaust live the rest of their lives with the dignity they deserve," Tarlin notes.
Schechter Holocaust Services addresses the needs and concerns of Holocaust survivors and their families as they change over time. In an effort to assist survivors of Nazi persecution to age with dignity, we provide confidential, comprehensive assistance to survivors and their families at no cost. This includes emergency financial assistance, homecare subsidies, and reparations and restitution assistance.
Jon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.