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Transforming Pain into Hope: Learning from Holocaust Survivors

Maryland Humanities Council Presents Program on March 5

SOURCE: Maryland Humanities Council
By addressing how German society and Jewish communities have dealt with their traumatic past in different ways, the speaker will show how dialogue can pave the way for profound changes necessary for living together in the world today.
On Sunday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m. the Maryland Humanities Council will present "Transforming Pain into Hope: Learning from Holocaust Survivors," a free community program offered in conjunction with the photography exhibit and tribute, "Portraits of Life: Holocaust Survivors of Montgomery County." The program will be held at the Council’s headquarters at 108 West Centre Street in the Mount Vernon Cultural District.

Designed to spark dialogue on the issues of remembrance and reconciliation brought forth in the aftermath of the Holocaust that are relevant in the world today, the program will feature presentations by Bjorn Krondorfer, Professor of Religious Studies at St. Mary's College of Maryland, and Holocaust survivor, Martin Weiss.

Krondorfer, a native of Germany, came to the United States in 1983, where he met Holocaust survivors and their families. In his talk, Krondorfer will discuss what he learned from these conversations and how these meetings changed his life. By addressing how German society and Jewish communities have dealt with their traumatic past in different ways, he will show how dialogue can pave the way for profound changes necessary for living together in the world today.

Krondorfer has been involved in the study of the history and legacy of the Holocaust for the last 20 years. He has served as editor of the Cultural Criticism Series, and is the author of Remembrance and Reconciliation: Encounters Between Young Jews and Germans. He holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Temple University and is also the director of the International Summer Holocaust Program, a month-long study program for American and European students of Jewish and non-Jewish descent.

Martin Weiss, a resident of Bethesda and a Holocaust survivor, will respond to Krondorfer's talk and encourage dialogue on the topic. Born in Polana in the Carpathian region of then Czechoslovakia, Weiss came from a family of nine children. His parents, three sisters, and one brother perished in Auschwitz & other camps. After the war, Martin Weiss came to the U.S. with his sister Cilia and settled in New Jersey where he raised his family.


"Transforming Pain into Hope" is supported by the Council’s Dr. Hiltgunt Margret Zassenhaus Memorial Fund. The exhibit, "Portraits of Life," was developed by the Montgomery College Paul Peck Humanities Institute in partnership with Montgomery College Arts Institute and the Office of Institutional Advancement. Additional programs offered by the Council on Portraits of Life can be found at mdhc.org. For more information or to RSVP, call 410-685-0095.


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This story was published on February 22, 2006.