2nd Midwest Holocaust Symposium – Update




         Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, featured                    Mr. Rudolph Tessler,                                  Mr. Robert Hartman,                               Rabbi Avrohom S. Moller, 

           featured speaker and former                Holocaust survivor testimonial                     Hartman Family Foundation                          Superintendent of the ATT

                Chief Rabbi of Israel



                                                View of the participants                                                                  Choir led by Mr. Shimon Ray



On May 3, 2015, over 400 members of the Chicago community, including many survivors, attended an event at the Illinois Holocaust and Education Museum to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945. The program was sponsored by the Associated Talmud Torahs and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center with major support from the Hartman Family Foundation.


The program opened with tours of the museum’s permanent exhibit while educators had a pre-program discussion on overcoming the fears we have in discussing this critical but overwhelming topic with our children.


The plenum session was opened by Rabbi Avrohom S. Moller, Superintendent of the ATT who discussed the mixed emotions evoked by this anniversary. He spoke of the sadness, the yearning for what was lost and the tremendous gratitude for what has been rebuilt in the last 70 years. Rabbi Moller introduced Mr. Rudolph Tessler, a survivor and builder who was the motivating force behind the program. Mr. Tessler enthralled the audience with his experiences at the moment of liberation and the aftermath of the Holocaust. He related his father’s lifesaving lesson the first day in Auschwitz where in spite of his loss of his wife and six children, he told his son, “You must eat to live”, conveying that there will be a future and that he can overcome this terrible circumstance. This had become his credo and energized him to go on throughout his life.


Mr. Robert Hartman, a child of survivors and advocate for Holocaust education spoke of the obligation we have to perpetuate the story of those who were lost in the Holocaust as well as those who survived and raised families with faith, hope and love. He expressed his determination to see that all schools do their share in this important and sacred trust.


The guest speaker of the event was HaRav Yisroel Meir Lau, former chief rabbi of Israel, himself a survivor and president of Yad Vashem. He spoke of his own rebirth after the war and his daily gratitude to Hashem for the blessing of life and preservation for all the years that have passed. Rabbi Lau explained that we have to fight not only the Nazis’ plan of physical annihilation but their plan to eliminate the Jewish religion as well. Our reconnection with our prewar roots, values and tradition is another declaration of victory over our implacable foes. He explained that the name “Yisrael” contains the first letter of the Avos and Imahos implying that our nationhood is determined by our connection to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.


The program was closed by Mr. Shimon Ray and his men’s choir singing songs of hope and faith. The moving melodies were a beautiful ending to a most inspiring evening.



For schedule, click here.


The following is the link to the speakers of the Second Midwest Holocaust Symposium:



(Courtesy of: AY Karsh,  Zichronot Video)

NOTE: Dropbox only lets you preview the first 15 minutes of each file. To see the full clip, you'll need to download it.

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