4th Annual Educators’ Conference About 2Gs Expected to Attract Several Hundred Participants

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Holocaust Educators’ Conference 2020

Deborah Schechter

The children of Holocaust survivors are often known as 2Gs or second-generation survivors.  Nowadays, many in the 2G generation — the current bearers of the Holocaust legacy — have conscientiously accepted upon themselves the task of ensuring that the memory of the spiritual and physical courage of their survivor parents is not forgotten. Eli Wiesel once said in an interview,” ‘I believe a person who listens to a witness becomes a witness.”

And yet, within our immediate communities, nobody has, to date, addressed the legacy, the contributions, and the experiences of 2Gs from the perspective of the melding of both the academic and the personal viewpoints. Generally speaking, it has always been one perspective, or the other. However, Project Witness thinks differently and recognizing the need to combine both perspectives, Project Witness decided to undertake an original project—a conference that would present the best academic researchers available who will share with the audience the latest research into the 2G phenomenon, cojoining with well-known social service professionals who will address the personal and the emotional aspects of life as a 2G or 3G. This unusual combination of the salient aspects of the intellectual roots and the personal worlds of the 2G will be evaluated in depth at the Project Witness Fourth Annual Educators’ Conference that will take place on February 16 and 17 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan.

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In recent years, many 2Gs have been questioning the extent of the how and the why by which they are defined by their parents’ experiences, even if they did not undergo them personally. Scheduled just a few weeks after the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, the conference will have many answers. It will offer educators, scholars, the children and grandchildren of survivors, and students two days of intensive academic and personal exploration of the topic “Two Gs —Witnesses to the Witnesses” a theme interconnected with the Holocaust and fading memories. Project Witness has prepared a rich program that will explore the latest research on the topic of 2Gs and more importantly, discuss the impact of the many contributions to our society made by 2Gs.

Speakers at the conference include a stellar list of Torah and communal personalities, Holocaust researchers, scholars, and social services professionals. Those who attend will be privileged to hear Mrs. Ruth Lichtenstein, Dayan Chaim Kohn, Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Dr. Sharon Rais, Dr. Faye Zakheim, Dr. Hindie Klein, Dr. Toby Weiss, Dr. Natalia Aleksiun, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, Dr. Michal Shaul, Rebbetzin Esther Farbstein, Mrs. Shoshana Shenker, Dr. Irit Felsen, and Dr. Eva Fogelman. They will address a broad range of fascinating 2G-related topics designed to inspire us all (2Gs and non 2Gs alike) to accept the role of disseminating the legacy left to us by the valiant Holocaust survivors.

While this is primarily a conference for educators, all topics that will be under discussion at the conference will most definitely be of consuming interest to 2Gs and 3Gs as well. Project Witness extends a warm invitation to children and grandchildren of survivors to join in this very special two-day event. We recommend early registration as a large audience is anticipated. 

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In addition to the outstanding lineup of speakers, the two-day program includes a delicious lunch each day, a package of valuable academic writings that present the ideas and research of the speakers, and free access to the very meaningful exhibition “Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away now on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—the site of the Project Witness conference. Project Witness thanks the Museum of Jewish Heritage for inviting our conference guests to attend this highly-praised exhibition at no charge.

Reservations are available now. To assure your place at this very meaningful conferencethat connects the history of the past to what we trust  will be a powerful propagation of the message of the Holocaust for the future,  please contact Project Witness at [email protected] or call 718-305-5221.