Struggling to be Heard – Forward.com

 

Struggling to be Heard

Giving Voice to Victims of Sexual Violence During the Holocaust

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/136215/#ixzz1HQLyecCf

 

Struggling to be Heard – Forward.com.

By Elissa Strauss

Published March 16, 2011, issue of March 25, 2011.

At the end of their workshop about women in the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in 2006, scholars Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel encountered some dissent. The presentation, “Beyond Anne Frank: Teaching About Women and the Holocaust,” looked at the ways in which women experienced the Holocaust differently than men did, and included a discussion on sexual violence at Ravensbrük. Afterward, a few of the conference attendees, including a pre-eminent Holocaust scholar, said there was no evidence on this subject and questioned whether sexual violence had really occurred.

As an answer, Hedgepeth and Saidel got working on the recently published “Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During The Holocaust” (Brandeis, 2010), the first book on the topic in English, which comprises 16 essays examining the rape, forced prostitution, sexual slavery, forced abortion and sterilization that took place during the war.

While the Holocaust has been examined from myriad perspectives in both academia and popular culture, sexual violence, which was largely directed against women, has received little attention. Hedgepeth and Saidel, along with a small group of academics and writers, are fighting to change that.

“This has been totally neglected in the history of the Holocaust,” Saidel said, explaining that there has been a resistance overall to looking at survivors’ experiences in terms of gender. “For some historians, focusing on women means that you are taking away from the totality of the Holocaust experience.”

“For some,” Hedgepeth added, “there is a false perception that looking at sexual violence is asking the question of who suffered more.”

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/136215/#ixzz1HQMEEAlG

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An important new book in English explores sexual violence committed during the Holocaust, a subject left out of most discussions.  Please click onto the link.  (I’m going to get the book)

Democracy Week at Nofei Habsor High School

Nofei Habsor (link in Hebrew)

Strange to say that during Democracy Week last week in our Western Negev School, I had little contact with my students. Some were off on a week of pseudo-Army experience, called the ‘Gadna‘. Some were off in Jerusalem in order to sum up their experience of travelling to Poland in August, where they experienced the actual Holocaust location, empty and green as it may be at the moment.

For me, my experience of Democracy Week was grabbing a chance to pursue my right to be a human being despite the incessant calls to create powerpoint learning units and to devise creative ways to stimulate learners to absorb the English language. My human rights were happily exercised as again I interviewed Martina Newberry (soon to be posted here), and entered into that part of my brain that deals with the more bizarre connections of experience, my own and others’.

But enough about me.

This post is to commemorate the ceremony in Nofei Habsor, on Wednesday, October 20th, marking 15 years after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, killed during a public gathering in what was then called the State Square, mid-Tel Aviv. It’s now Rabin Square, and since that mind-boggling night when a citizen named Yigal Amir murdered our Prime Minister because of a difference in point of view, we struggle with what it means to be Democratic.

How far from a Democracy are we, and what can we do to strive to work towards equal rights for all?

I include the clip filmed and edited by our Media Department, and below the jump, you’ll find some photos of the interactive seminar rooms in which students of all grades participated.

The clip, in Hebrew, shows Grade 10 students reading important statements about Democracy from the beginning of the existence of the State of Israel, in 1948 till later days. You’ll hear songs, you’ll see the release of doves as a pledge to search for freedom. Finally, you’ll hear one girl announce that the Student Council initiated a petition pledging students to resolve to work towards freedom and equality for all. After collecting signatures in Nofei Habsor, the student council will circulate the petition to other schools to create a butterfly effect.

Salute to those who search for the way to a Democratic way of living in peace and co-existence.

N.Y. school honors Jewish athlete banned by Nazis – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

N.Y. school honors Jewish athlete banned by Nazis – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Since December, 2009, I’ve been studying an online course given by Sheryl Ochayon from Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies, an online educational institute.

The course is Germany: 1918 – 1943. We’ve studied each period of time in a series of 12 installments. My final project is on this wonderful woman, Margaret Lambert who was formerly known as Gretel Bergmann. (The courses are interesting, thorough and involve readings and writing short essay style answers. Check them out)

So, today, how good it felt to click onto Ha’aretz.com to find this link.

Read the article and notice how strong this woman is today at the age of 96. Note the question and her answer:

Asked earlier what message she would pass on to the young athletes who will compete at the Margaret Lambert Track and Field in New York, she said, “I hope they keep it honest and stay away from steroids.”