Yesterday being Holocaust Remembrance Day-or Yom Ha’Shoa-students from the Santa Barbara City College Chapter of the Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus Life observed the day by offering a presentation by Holocaust Survivors, a film about the Holocaust, and a word by rabbi Allison Conyer, the Executive Director of UCSB’s Hillel. Hillel, an organization well known on college campuses across the country for offering support to Jewish students, has only recently established a chapter at SBCC. “We wanted to have a Holocaust Remembrance Day at City College because there is a significant Jewish presence here,” said Ida Goldkorn, the new club’s Communications Officer, and the one largely responsible for organizing the event.
Guest speakers for the event included participants from the Portraits of Survival exhibit and educational outreach program offered by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. A permanent exhibit at the Bronfman Family Jewish Community Center, Portraits of Survival shares the stories of Holocaust survivors. The program is designed to keep the Holocaust alive in peoples’ memories so that it does not happen again, but also to show that even people who have had to endure such catastrophe can have successful lives.
“I feel you can’t live in the past, but you have to remember those who died,” said Maria Segal, one of the panel’s speakers. Portraits speakers regularly present to school groups, and even have a program aimed at kids who are learning English. “The U.S. is great, and if you apply yourself you can do anything you want,” said Dr. Stan Ostern, who lived in a basement with 35 other people for two years before escaping to the U.S. When he arrived, he had no schooling and couldn’t speak English, but went on to have a successful career as a physician.
The presentation was open to SBCC students and members of the public, and included a screening of the movie Fateless. Based upon the novel Fateless, by Imre Kertesz, the movie follows the journey of a 15 year old Hungarian Jew from ghetto, to concentration camp, and back to his home in Budapest. The book, part of a trilogy including Fiasco and Kaddish for an Unborn Child, won the 2002 Nobel Prize for literature. Jeff Balch, an SBCC student, noted the film’s different approach. “You see a lot of things like Schindler’s List that show what happened in the camps,” he said, “but you hardly ever hear what happened afterwards.”
SBCC Hillel meets every Friday at 10 a.m. in the Campus Center. “The more we can get out that there’s a Jewish presence at SBCC the better,” said Julie Alpert Wood, an ESL professor and SBCC Hillel’s faculty advisor. For more information, the club can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.