The May 19 U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Cleveland Luncheon will feature two unusual aspects – an author-subject combination and a time capsule.
Wendy Holden, author of the 2015 book “Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope,” will be a featured speaker.
“It’s been the greatest privilege of my life to write this book,” Holden said. “I think this will be the most important book I’ll ever write, historically.”
Her book depicts a rare subject: babies born in Nazi labor camps who were still alive when the camps were liberated.
Hana Berger Moran, one of the babies depicted in Holden’s book, will join her.
“That’s what’s so lovely about the whole process,” said Holden, who will be making her first visit to Cleveland. “You rarely have a living example next to you. It’s absolutely marvelous to have Hana with me on this occasion.
“People are moved to tears every time. They are so overwhelmed to meet with Hana and see this miracle right in front of them, this child that Hitler intended to kill.”
J. David Heller, luncheon co-chair and a leading donor with his $25,000 gift, said stories like Moran’s are part of the power of the event.
“I am looking forward to hearing the miraculous story of survival that our speakers will tell and hope that members of our community who have not joined us in the past will do so this year,” Heller said.
Holden’s story, of course, has already been written, but the May 19 luncheon will also look to gather new stories. Jed Silberg, in the museum’s Midwest office, said that one of the museum’s major functions is to collect evidence and stories of the Holocaust.
Silberg said a time capsule would be created at the luncheon, featuring notes from Cleveland-area survivors. Silberg said he expects 100 Holocaust survivors among the roughly 500 people expected to attend. The capsule will be opened and their notes will be read at the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2043.
“It’s wonderful to have this many Holocaust survivors together, honoring them, letting them know that we’re not going to forget their stories and we’re not going to forget what they went through,” Silberg said.
Of course, the luncheon is also a fundraiser for the museum. The Cleveland Luncheon, one of several around the country, raised $350,000 last year.
“Our Cleveland community has been so supportive of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and (my wife) Becky and I are proud to be a small part of that,” Heller said. “Year in and year out, this luncheon brings the messages of remembrance and ‘never again’ to our community.”
Silberg said there would also be luncheons in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, South Florida and Washington D.C.
“It is important that our generation continues to not only remember the victims of the Holocaust, but to also see the relevance of the Holocaust and the museum as a force to confront hatred in all of its forms,” Heller said.
Sara J. Bloomfield, a Shaker Heights resident, is director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
posted Cleveland Jewish News