Esther Allweiss Ingber | Contributing Writer
Detroit Jewish News
Children of Holocaust survivors (2Gs) gradually become aware of having “different” families. Their European-born parents exhibit varying degrees of trauma.
As young adults, the 2Gs began forming organizations for themselves. The local group, since 1979, is CHAIM: Children of Holocaust Survivors Association in Michigan. The rising generations of Holocaust survivors are joining the 2Gs in planning social events and carrying on the legacy of survivors by maintaining a voice in the community and interacting with each other.
CHAIM will present “Gathering of the Tribe,” an event especially for Midwest-based Holocaust survivors’ descendants and spouses, on Sunday and Monday, June 26-27. Partial financial support, including five kosher meals, will come from the George Garvil Memorial Fund, named for a late CHAIM board member.
June 26 will be the busiest day, according to CHAIM’s Dr. Charles Silow, founder and continuing president. He directs the Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families for Jewish Senior Life in West Bloomfield.
A tour of the Farmington Hills-based Holocaust Memorial Center will include seeing “Portraits of Honor,” a Silow-initiated project featuring faces and biographies of local survivors.
“We’ll also have a discussion group about our role as 2Gs and 3Gs for future Holocaust remembrance and education,” he said.
After the movie Deli Man, the group will enjoy a deli dinner at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills. Klezmer music and dancing will follow. The highlight on June 27 is visiting the Motown Museum.
“It’s not really a reunion — more of a gathering,” Silow said, calling it “an opportunity for the next generations to get to know one another in a more social and relaxed manner.”
Silow and CHAIM were happy to get the ball rolling after Judy Goldner-Moss of Baltimore proposed the idea for a get-together on Facebook. The former Detroiter was inspired after learning of an event for 2Gs in New York.
“We’re the last of the Mohicans who can transfer over what happened to our parents,” she said.
“Since I lost my parents, I feel more of a need to connect with other children of survivors,” said longtime CHAIM board member Rosa Chessler of Southfield. Her folks came fromKielce in Poland.
“The Midwest Gathering will be a good chance to talk about what needs to be done to continue the survivors’ legacy,” she said.
The late parents of CHAIM board member Eva Kraus of West Bloomfield were from Munkac in Czechoslovakia (Hungary during the war). Kraus has attended many conferences for children of survivors that offer panels, speakers and opportunities to socialize. The World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants holds its 28th annual international conference Nov. 4-7 in Los Angeles.
“It will be nice to have a gathering at home and be involved with the planning,” Kraus said.
“I hope it will bring more people from out of town.”
Kathy Halliburton of Southfield, born in Budapest, came to the U.S. with her family after the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. She has a 94-year-old mother.
“Thrilled” about attending her first gathering, Halliburton said, “I’m hoping to meet other 2Gs and share stories. Maybe there will be someone there that could even possibly be a relative.” *
To register for the Midwest regional “Gathering of the Tribe,” send a check for $54 to CHAIM, c/o Holocaust Memorial Center, 28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334. For information, contact Dr. Charles Silow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 210-4849, or Rosa Chessler, email@example.com or (248) 355-2221.