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City Tech Marks Kristallnacht, End of WWII Anniversaries on Nov. 11

City Tech will mark the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht and the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII on Thursday, November 11, 1 p.m., with Ann Kirschner, PhD, author of Sala's Gift: My Mother's Holocaust Story, and the presentation of humanitarian awards to Nobel Prize winner Günter Blobel, MD, PhD, and Interfaith Committee of Remembrance (ICOR) founder and chairman Jerry Jacobs.

This free event will take place in the College’s Atrium Amphitheater, 300 Jay Street (at Tillary), in Downtown Brooklyn.

Gary V. Ellis, MD, co-founder and executive director of Brooklyn-based Inner Force Student Leadership Institute, will introduce Dr. Kirschner. Joel Levy, director of development at the Vera Institute for Justice and former New York regional director at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), will present the JFSA Distinguished Humanitarian Award to Dr. Blobel and Mr. Jacobs. Borough President Marty Markowitz will give greetings and present proclamations.

Other dignitaries scheduled to attend the event, which is sponsored by City Tech’s Jewish Faculty & Staff Association, include Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, New York Consul General of Poland, and Dr. Horst Freitag, New York Consul General of Germany.

Ann Kirschner

Kirschner with her mother, Sala

Dr. Kirschner, City University of New York dean of Macaulay Honors College, says in her book, “For nearly fifty years, my mother kept a secret. After surviving five years of Nazi slave labor camps, Sala Garncarz Kirschner came to America as a war bride and raised our family without ever speaking of her wartime experiences.  I grew up in a happy and safe home, and became a scholar, writer, and a mother myself, but always wondered about the black hole in my mother’s past.”

“It was not until my mother was scheduled for heart surgery in 1991 that she showed me a priceless collection of more than 350 letters and a diary from her years in the camps, documents that she had kept carefully hidden in a cardboard box,” Dr. Kirschner writes. “In that moment, my mother changed my life. The book is about what happened to her, to the letter writers, and to me when I found myself the recipient of Sala’s Gift.”

Dr. Kirschner began her career as a lecturer in Victorian literature at Princeton University, where she earned a PhD in English. Her subsequent career as an entrepreneur in media and technology included the creation of Internet businesses for the National Football League and Columbia University. She is a frequent contributor to conferences and publications on higher education and interactive media. 

Günter Blobel


Günter Blobel, MD, PhD, is the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Professor and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Laboratory of Cell Biology) at Rockefeller University. Dr. Blobel was the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that proteins have intrinsic signals that govern their transport and localization in the cell. He also received the King Faisal International Prize in 1996, the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1993, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize in 1989 and the Gairdner Foundation International Award in 1982.

Dr. Blobel is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the German Order of Merit.

Born in a small Silesian village in what was then the eastern part of Germany, Dr. Blobel founded (in 1994) Friends of Dresden, Inc., a charitable organization with the goal of raising funds to support the reconstruction of that German city decimated during World War II. He donated the entire sum of his Nobel Prize to support the rebuilding of Dresden, including the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), built in the 18th century, and the building of a new synagogue in the city. The synagogue was destroyed on Kristallnacht in 1938.

Jerry Jacobs


Jerry Jacobs is founder and chairman of the Interfaith Committee of Remembrance (ICOR) and executive producer of the annual Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Concerts at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The son of a violist and assistant conductor of the pre-war Lodz Symphony who died in the Holocaust, Jacobs was a child survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

Like many survivors, he kept silent about his horrendous experiences during the war. But at age 50, he met British composer Ronald Senator, while attending a presentation of his “Kaddish for Terezin,” dedicated to the victims of the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Mr. Jacobs realized that silence about the abominations of the Holocaust was not doing justice to its victims nor preventing future horrors from happening.

With his musical background and music connections, Mr. Jacobs began the annual concerts at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, obtaining the participation of preeminent conductors, composers and performers. This year will mark the 20th anniversary concert, each one honoring the dead, paying respect to the survivors and the righteous, and supporting Jacobs’ cause of promoting understanding among peoples, faiths and nationalities, to create a better and more tolerant world. 

City Tech’s November 11 event is co-sponsored by the New York City College of Technology Foundation, Facing History and Ourselves, the Interfaith Committee of Remembrance and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.


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