Survivors and Students Connect Over Our Shared Legacy

July 22, 2011

JDC co-sponsored an event in NY with Selfhelp Community Services, where high school students from the Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn, NY, volunteered at a Caf Europa program, a festive social gathering of Holocaust survivors. Generations mingled and conversations ranged from extracurricular school activities to poignant stories and memories of survival during the war.

A highlight of the program, held at the Jewish Center of Flatbush, was the opportunity for students and survivors to navigate Our Shared Legacy together. An extraordinary digital collection of thousands of historical documents and photographs from the JDC Archives, the platform allows the public, especially Holocaust survivors and their families, to perform searches in a database of more than 500,000 names, and to view and identify photos from 58 locations where JDC operated during and after the war.

Survivors and Students Connect Over Our Shared Legacy

Modern technology engaged students in researching this topic, and all participants were pleased to create intergenerational connections and discover common ground in investigating a shared heritage.

One young woman explained that while she and a survivor cried together while lighting memorial candles, the most meaningful part of the event was to see the look on the survivors face when she found someone she knew on the computer. Another student commented that he and a survivor went eagerly to use a computer, where they were able to locate relevant documents in the database. At this point it was time to leave, the student lamented. I wish I had more time.