Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Check out" the latest editions to our Library and DVD collection!

Look what just arrived! Theses books and DVDs are sure to inspire and enlighten. Want to check out one of these books or DVDs? Email: to make your request!


A People Uncounted: The Untold Story of the Roma 

A People Uncounted tells the story of the Roma, commonly referred to as Gypsies-a people who have been both romanticized and vilified in popular culture. 
The Roma have endured centuries of intolerance and persecution in Europe, most notably the Holocaust genocide where an estimated 500,000 were murdered. A People Uncounteddocuments their culturally rich yet often difficult lives, and demonstrates how their present state has been deeply shaped by the tragedies of the past.  

Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home 

In the late 1930s, following the ferocious anti-Jewish violence of Kristallnacht, a determined group of young German Jews left behind everything that was dear and familiar and immigrated to Chicago. Here, these refugees set out to create a supportive community for themselves and others fleeing Nazi persecution, eventually establishing the Selfhelp Home for the oldest among them. REFUGE is a one-hour documentary that reaches back more than 70 years to give a voice to its last generation of victims of Nazi persecution and tell the story of this singular community that has provided a safe haven to more than 1,000 Central European Jewish refugees and survivors.


Beyond Courage: The Untold Stories of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust
Doreen Rappaport

Under the noses of the military, Georges Loinger smuggles thousands of children out of occupied France into Switzerland. In Belgium, three resisters ambush a train, allowing scores of Jews to flee from the cattle cars. In Poland, four brothers lead more than 1,200 ghetto refugees into the forest to build a guerilla force and self-sufficient village. And twelve-year-old Motele Shlayan entertains German officers with his violin moments before setting off a bomb. Through twenty-one meticulously researched accounts — some chronicled in book form for the first time — Doreen Rappaport illuminates the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews across eleven Nazi-occupied countries during World War II. In answer to the genocidal madness that was Hitler’s Holocaust, the only response they could abide was resistance, and their greatest weapons were courage, ingenuity, the will to survive, and the resolve to save others or to die trying. 

The Red Umbrella: Danish Resistance and Johna's Escape from Nazi Occupation 
Johma Christensen

Over 99% of the Danish Jews were rescued in WWII by the Danish people. The Red Umbrella is a young girl’s memoir of life during WWII Nazi occupation of Copenhagen, Denmark during 1943-1945.
Little Johna Christensen lived with a Jewish Mother’s family, a Danish Father’s family, a birth defect and a Nazi Occupation. It is an astounding story of a complex life including religion, politics, crime, brothels, war, affairs, rescue, redemption and ultimate joy. Women and men of courage and character are forced to be both heroes and villains. It is very different from any other Holocaust story.

Children of Siberia: Memoirs of Lithuanian Exiles 
Irena Kurtinaityte Aras and Vidmantas Zavadskis
A collections of the memories of 16 Lithuanians who were exiled to Siberia in their infancy or childhood.

The Exiles Return 
Elisabeth de Waal 
Vienna is demolished by war, the city an alien landscape of ruined castles, a fractured ruling class, and people picking up the pieces. Elisabeth de Waal’s mesmerizing The Exiles Return is a stunningly vivid postwar story of Austria’s fallen aristocrats, unrepentant Nazis, and a culture degraded by violence.

I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls and Wars in Hungary 
Marianne Szegedy-Maszak
Framed by a cache of letters written between 1940 and 1947, Szegedy-Maszák’s family memoir tells the story, at once intimate and epic, of the complicated relationship Hungary had with its Jewish population—the moments of glorious humanism that stood apart from its history of anti-Semitism—and with the rest of the world. She resurrects in riveting detail a lost world of splendor and carefully limns the moral struggles that history exacted—from a country and its individuals.

Warsaw 1944: Hitler, Himmler, and the Warsaw Uprising 
Alexandra Richie 
 Warsaw 1944 tells the story of this brave, and errant, calculation. For more than sixty days, the Polish fighters took over large parts of the city and held off the SS’s most brutal forces. But in the end, their efforts were doomed. Scorned by Stalin and unable to win significant support from the Western Allies, the Polish Home Army was left to face the full fury of Hitler, Himmler, and the SS. The crackdown that followed was among the most brutal episodes of history’s most brutal war, and the celebrated historian Alexandra Richie depicts this tragedy in riveting detail. Using a rich trove of primary sources, Richie relates the terrible experiences of individuals who fought in the uprising and perished in it. Her clear-eyed narrative reveals the fraught choices and complex legacy of some of World War II’s most unsung heroes.

Testimony: The Legacy of Schindler's List and The USC Shoah Foundation
USC Shoah Foundation with Introduction by Steven Spielberg
A special 140-page section tells the riveting story of the film in photos, script excerpts, and the words of the cast and crew, including Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Spielberg. Drawing from the Universal Pictures archives and exclusive interviews, here are details on Spielberg’s struggle to bring Oskar Schindler’s story from novel to script to screen, the casting, cinematography, and especially what happened during the difficult shoot in Poland in 1993—on locations where actual events of the Holocaust occurred. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Check out what Peter Metzelaar is up to!

Check out the article below from KTVB in Boise, Idaho! Peter Metzelaar spoke to 300 middle schools students! Great article- read it!

Noemi Ban Speaks in Spokane!

Survivor Noemi Ban speaks to students at Trentwood Middle School in Spokane.  Trentwood School teacher Julie Scott and Otis School teacher Loriann Howe are committed to teaching their students about the Holocaust and have brought survivors to their school for over 15 years.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Meet Our New Education Assistant!

Meet Rachel Rasmus, our new Education Assistant! 

One beautiful, cold Sunday morning, Rachel arrived at the Holocaust Center with the 6th grade Sunday School class from Temple De Hirsch Sinai for a class field trip. After ensuring all students were in the building, Rachel took a moment to look around. Immediately, Rachel felt a connection and knew she had to get involved! The WSHERC encompasses Rachel's life passions: history and Jewish education. 

Rachel graduated in March 2013 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Social Studies from Western Washington University. During her studies, Rachel focused her attention on Holocaust and Jewish studies- taking every class Western had to offer on the subjects! While at Western, Rachel also received her Washington State Teacher Certification for 8-12th grade, completing the certification process as a student teacher at the Jewish Day School in Bellevue. 

Rachel's passion for Jewish education also shines through at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, working in the Religion School and as the TDHS Youth Group Advisor. 

With Rachel's education background and her passion for history, we welcome her aboard as our Education Assistant! We cannot wait to see all she will accomplish! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Books in the Library!

Last week I mentioned some of the new DVDs we have available; this week I'm highlighting a few of our new books!

Dividing Hearts:
The Removal of Jewish Children from Gentile Families in
Poland in the Immediate Post Holocaust Years

by Emunah Nachmany Gafny

From the back cover:
"It is difficult for us to agree that because of financial limitations, Jewish children will not be able to return to their people. That was undoubtedly the last wish of the parents who were martyred -- that their children should return to Judaism." (Members of the presidium of the Zionist Koordynacja for the Redemption of Children)

These words express the feelings of the Jewish activists in Poland after the Holocaust. Shortly after the liberation of Poland from Nazi occupation, several Jewish organizations were created in order to locate Jewish children who had been hidden during the war by Polish Christians, so as to transfer them to Jewish children's homes.

Emunah Nachmany Gafny's book deals with questions posed by these operations: Why did several organizations come into being for the same purpose? What were the relations among them? What was the nature of the operations of each body? What were the reactions of the Polish rescuers? How did Polish courts view the removal of the children to Jewish orphanages? What was the attitude of the Church? How did the children themselves react?


The Momuments Men:
Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
by Robert M. Edsel

From the Author's Note:
"Most of us are aware that World War II was the most destructive war in history. We know of the horrific loss of life; we've seen images of the devastated European cities. [...] But what if I told you there was a major story about World War II that hasn't been told, a significant story at the heart of the entire war effort, involving the most unlikely group of heroes you've never heard of?  What if I told you there was a group of men on the front lines who quite literally saves the world as we know it; a group that didn't carry machine guns or drive tanks, who weren't official statesmen; men who not only had the vision to understand the grave threat to the greatest cultural and artistic achievements of civilization, but then joined the front lines to do something about it?

These unknown heroes were known as the 'Monuments Men,' a group of soldiers who served in the Western Allied military effort from 1943 until 1951. Their initial responsibility was to mitigate combat damage, primarily to structures -- churches, museums, and other important monuments. As the war progressed and the German border was breached, their focus shifted to locating movable works of art and other cultural items stolen or otherwise missing. During their occupation of Europe, Hitler and the Nazis pulled off the "greatest theft in history," seizing and transporting more than five million cultural objects to the Third Reich. The Western Allied effort, spearheaded by the Monuments Men, thus became the "greatest treasure hunt in history," with all the unimaginable and bizarre stories that only war can produce."

Coming to theaters February 2014! Film website and trailer:


The Weaver's Scar: For Our Rwanda
by Brian Crawford (local author!)

From the publisher:
"The Weaver's Scar is the first young adult novel written in English and for an American audience dealing directly with the Rwandan genocide.

It is a story of a Rwandan boy who manages to escape the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis and make it to America. It is a story that is both horrific and inspiring.

Faustin is a normal schoolboy growing up and very good at running and soccer. But dark secrets of the past hang over his family, and his father disapproves of his friends and his football games. Things only start to make sense when the teachers at school begin to emphasize the division between the Tutsis and Hutus, a division that even makes its way to the soccer field.

As the terrible events of the genocide unfold, Faustin discovers what caused his father’s disability, experiences the cruelty of his schoolteachers, and sees first-hand the horror of neighbor against neighbor. With his family slain, his only chance of survival lies in his running and sheer courage to outwit the enemy. He does not have to do it alone, as he discovers the value and courage of an unlikely friend."

For teachers who might be interested in using this book in the classroom, there is also a teacher guide available from the publisher. Check out the website for more information:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

6th Grade Students & Parents from TDHS Visit the Holocaust Center

Thank you to the 6th grade students and their parents who visited the Holocaust Center this past Sunday.  The annual visit is part of Temple De Hirsch Sinai's 6th grade curriculum.

Students and their parents had the opportunity to explore artifacts and to hear from survivors Susie and Hester.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New DVDs in the Library!

Recently we have added the following  DVDs to our library:

"The Last Survivor: Four Tragedies. Four Journeys. One Purpose."
The Last Survivor (2010)
The Last Survivor is an award-winning documentary that explores the idea of genocide in the 21st century.  Following the lives of the survivors of four different genocides and mass atrocities -- The Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, and Congo -- the film presents the stories of Survivors and their struggle to make sense of tragedy by working to educate, motivate and inspire a civic response to mass atrocity crimes. Offering real world examples of Survivors who have become powerful agents of change, The Last Survivor presents a unique opportunity to learn from the lessons and mistakes of our past in order to have lasting social impact on how we act collectively in the face of similar issues today.
92 min.

"Hitler's Children"
Hitler had no children, but what about Goering, Himmler and Frank? "Hitler's Children" introduces us to descendents of these infamous men. Niklas Frank, son of Hans Frank and godson of Hitler, has spent his adult life vehemently speaking out against his father and the Nazi regime. Bettina Goering, grandneice of Hitler's second in command, Hermann Goering, lives in voluntary exile in Santa Fe. These, and many others, discuss how they have coped with the fact that their last names are equated with terror and genocide. 
83 min.

Bonus Short Film:
"Kun 65"

A painting found on the street leads to an inspirational journey from Israel to Budapest while revealing the fascinating personal story of a holocaust survivor.
24 min.

"The Story of Human Rights"
 The Story of Human Rights DVD—Youth Version
Human rights are the basis of everything people value about their way of life. In their absence, lasting happiness is impossible, because there is no personal security, no freedom and no opportunity. Yet it took a world war and the deaths of tens of millions of people to bring the leading nations together to create a truly universal charter of rights -- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today's grim reality, however, is one of many nations deeply involved in torture, human trafficking, starvation, injustice, and discrimination and other human rights violations. These countries are in flagrant noncompliance with the Declaration. So who will make sure human rights are respected?
9:30 min.

Bonus features: 30 award-winning public service announcements that illustrate each of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and an award-winning UNITED human rights music video.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Books at the Holocaust Center!


Lives Lived and Lost, by Kaja Finkler and Gold Finkler

Golda and Kaja, mother and daughter, each survived the holocaust and tell their stories from differing perspectives. Their story paints a rich picture of Hasidic life before the holocaust and the terrible decision Golda, who was about to be sent to a slave labor camp, and her husband, who was to stay in the ghetto, would have to make: with which parent to send their daughter Kaja. After the war, mother and daughter were reunited in Sweden and eventually moved to America to establish new lives.

The Death of the Shtetl, by Yehuda Bauer

Unlike most books about life in pre-war Jewish towns in eastern Europe and their subsequent destruction during the holocaust---which are riveting narrative personal histories—Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University and Yad Vashem, Yehuda Bauer, takes a purely academic approach. Using newly translated Russian texts and Nazi files, he traces how the shtetls of eastern Europe were systematically destroyed. Yet resistance to the Nazis, such as the Bielski brothers’ family camp as seen in the recent movie Defiance, tells an additional story of Jewish courage. Because it is an academic analysis, the book may seem dry and be at too high of an academic level for a general audience. But for the reader who wants to read primary sources and delve into the chapter end-notes, it is ideal.

Reviews by Dr. Gene Printz-Kopelson.  Gene generously volunteers his spare time while in Seattle at the Holocaust Center.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Film in Library!

A new film from Disney Education Productions, "They Spoke Out: American Voices Against the Holocaust 1938-1945" is now available and in our library! 

In the tradition of WWII-themed graphic novels such as Maus, six remarkable motion comics tell the dramatic stories of the brave people who raised their voices to advocate for Jewish refugees victimized by the Nazis.  The series aims to inspire today's youth to speak out in the face of injustice.

Intended for grades 6-12
Running Time: 76 Minutes

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Books in the Library!

New books have been added to library, including: 

Difficult Questions in Polish-Jewish Dialogue 

             A collaborative project between the Forum for Dialogue Among Nations Foundation and the American Jewish Committee, this book endeavors to build bridges between Poles and Jews regarding the history of the Holocaust. 

The Pharmacist: In the Krakow Ghetto-- Tomasz Bereznicki 

             A graphic novel about the experiences of Tadeusz Pankiewicz, a pharmacist who continued to run his pharmacy even after it was incorporated into the Krakow ghetto. By keeping his pharmacy open he managed to help and rescue Jews over the course of two years.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thank you for being a sponsor of the 2013 Voices for Humanity Luncheon!

See more sponsors!

New Year, New Books!

New for Middle School Trunks: Terrible Things by Eve Bunting!  Request a trunk for your class today!

        The animals in the clearing were content until the Terrible Things came, capturing all creatures with feathers. 
        Little Rabbit wondered what was wrong with feathers, but his fellow animals silenced him. "Just mind your own business, Little Rabbit. We don't want them to get mad at us."
        In this unique introduction to the Holocaust, Ms. Bunting encourages young children to stand up for what they think is right, without waiting for others to join them.

We also have a new book available to borrow: A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism by Phyllis Goldstein!  We have ten copies available! 
To request this or other books, please contact us: or 206-744-2201.

        A Convenient Hatred chronicles a very particular hatred through powerful stories that allow readers to see themselves in the tarnished mirror of history. It raises important questions about the consequences of our assumptions and beliefs and the ways we, as individuals and as members of a society, make distinctions between "us" and "them," right and wrong, good and evil. These questions are both universal and particular.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Student Projects and Thank You Notes

Occasionally, teachers send us some of their students' work inspired by the books they read in the Teaching Trunks.  In Paul Regelbrugge's class at Finch Elementary in Spokane, students created picture books and ABC books about the books they read.  Below are pages from a few of the projects.

The students also sent letters sharing how the trunks have affected them.  Below are a few excerpts.

"In the Holocaust chest that you sent to Finch Elementary, I read Faces of Courage, by Sally Rogow... Thank you for helping me get that opportunity to read such courageous stories from some amazing people.  Reading these stories helped me understand how much simply standing up for someone being bullied can change the world... If I ever have the chance I will make an impact in the world. No. Even if I have to fight to make a difference. I WILL make a change."

"The book I chose to read was Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and let me say I am amazed how much this book and suitcase you sent has changed me. It just makes me cringe when i think about all the people in the world who have had to face death, or life-threatening injuries, just because of their skin color, religion, or for even being handicapped or gay.  And because of you one of my new favorite quotes is "change begins with me."... Lowry's bok helped me realize that I need to embrace who I am and not be ashamed of the color of my skin [I am African American]."

"The story [Number the Stars by Lois Lowry] made me realize how terrible this war was.... It makes me sad how someone could do this.... I wish to help people and teach them about this terrible event. I hate to know about this but at least it helps us be able to teach this scary event. To teach kids and other people about it and be able to learn that I don't want to be a bystander."

Thank you Paul Regelbrugge and your students for their great work!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

New Book !

Thank you to Carl Shutoff for loaning us this great new book! More details below:

Title: Art Against Death

This book showcases the permanent exhibitions of the Terezin Memorial in the former Magdeburg Barracks. It focuses heavily on the musical and artistic aspects of living in the Terezin ghetto.

Front Cover

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Books in the Library!

Three books have now been added to our library collection!

The books include

Ghetto Diary by Janusz Korczak

The diary of a successful pediatrician in Warsaw who gave up his career in order to take care of orphans in the ghetto. He was eventually sent to the Treblinka death camp with the same children that he took care of.

Het Hocker Album: Auschwitz door de lens van de SS  from the Holocaust Library 

Hoeker Album: Auschwitz through the lens of the SS 

An album thought to be compiled by Karl-Friedrich Hocker an SS officer, showing the lives of the officers who ran Auschwitz-Birkenau. (In Dutch) 

Holocaust &Human Rights from the Kazerne Dossin 

The Kazerne Dossin in Belgium has created a catalog to remember and reflect on the themes present in the museum's displays.