Norbert Obstfeld (right) poses next to a Christmas tree with Raymonda Verhage, the daughter of his rescuers, in December 1943.
Norbert Obstfeld (right) poses next to a Christmas tree with Raymonda Verhage, the daughter of his rescuers, in December 1943.

While hiding from Nazi persecution of Jews, two-year-old Norbert Obstfeld and his mother, Lea, celebrated Christmas with their rescuers. Teenager Gerda Weissmann fashioned a menorah out of potatoes to observe Hanukkah while imprisoned at the Bolkenhain forced labor camp. Although she didn’t have candles to light, her spiritual resistance ignited a flame of hope among her fellow prisoners for brighter days ahead.

In this digital program, discover how people defied the oppressive Nazi regime by commemorating holidays during the Holocaust.

--

--

Esther Starobin (second from left), with the British family who took her in. Left to right: Alan, Dot, and Harry Harrison.
Esther Starobin (second from left), with the British family who took her in. Left to right: Alan, Dot, and Harry Harrison.

A notice on the shoe factory’s bulletin board prompted the British couple to volunteer. They knew little; a Jewish child fleeing Nazi Germany needed a safe home. What began as a good deed blossomed into bonds that lasted a lifetime. When Harry and Dot Harrison greeted two-year-old Esther on their doorstep, they never imagined that over eight years she would become like a daughter to them. This digital discussion commemorated Adoption Month with the story of Holocaust survivor Esther Starobin.

This episode was made possible in part by the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation.

--

--

A nurse converses with three Polish female survivors of the Ravensbrück concentration camp who had been subjected to medical experimentation during their imprisonment. Pictured from left to right are Maria Kusmierczuk, Wladislawa Karolewska, and Jadwiga Dzido in Poland, 1946.
A nurse converses with three Polish female survivors of the Ravensbrück concentration camp who had been subjected to medical experimentation during their imprisonment. Pictured from left to right are Maria Kusmierczuk, Wladislawa Karolewska, and Jadwiga Dzido in Poland, 1946.

In 1942, Nazi doctors subjected Jadwiga Dzido to barbaric “medical” experiments at the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. She was among more than 70 female prisoners, mostly Polish, treated as human guinea pigs. Survivors resisted in a number of ways, including using a camera smuggled into the camp to document their abuse. The secret photos and trial testimony from Jadwiga and others helped bring some of the perpetrators to justice.

In this discussion held during Disability Awareness Month, experts discussed how innocent women were subjected to experiments in the name of science.

--

--

Members of the pro-Nazi German American Bund march from nearby Camp Siegfried, Yaphank, Long Island, New York, behind US and Nazi flags.
Members of the pro-Nazi German American Bund during a march from nearby Camp Siegfried, Yaphank, Long Island, New York.

Reports out of Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s showed that life was increasingly dangerous for Jews. Some Americans urged the US government to offer refuge to those attempting to flee, but most did not want to open the doors. In 1939, 20,000 Americans packed Madison Square Garden — the stage adorned with swastikas and American flags — for a pro-Nazi rally. Outside, 100,000 Americans protested the event.

In this digital discussion, learn how our divided nation responded to Nazi persecution in Europe.

--

--

Mexican American army medic Anthony Acevedo (center) before serving in World War II, exact date unknown.
Mexican American army medic Anthony Acevedo (center) before serving in World War II, exact date unknown.

Tony Acevedo was a devoted American despite the discrimination he faced because of his Mexican heritage. He was among more than 500,000 Latinx men and women who served the US military during World War II.

Even after he was captured and tortured by the Germans, Tony’s dedication to his fellow soldiers never wavered. He tended to their medical and spiritual needs and risked his life to record their experiences in captivity in a secret diary. In this digital discussion during Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognized the courageous contributions Tony and other Mexican Americans made to help the Allies defeat Nazi Germany and win the war.

This program is captioned in Spanish.

--

--

White nationalists participate in a torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia ahead of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11, 2017.
White nationalists participate in a torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia ahead of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11, 2017.

In August 2017, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of Confederate statues. Their flaming torches, racist and anti-Jewish slogans, and threats of violence stunned many Americans. A day later, one counter-protester was killed and others were injured. Since then, self-proclaimed neo-Nazis have drawn new recruits with the viral spread of conspiracy theories that stoke division and myths of white power and replacement. Watch this expert discussion to learn about the history of beliefs that once seemed fringe and today fuel hatred and violence.

--

--