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‘Law of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity’ Focus of November 10 Talk at City Tech

Menachem Z. Rosensaft

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, general counsel of the World Jewish Congress and the son of survivors of the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen Nazi death camps, was featured speaker on November 10, 2011 at the New York City College of Technology Jewish Faculty & Staff Association’s (JFSA) annual observance of Kristallnacht. Professor Rosensaft’s remarks focused on his parent’s concentration camp experiences and the roles played by leaders of the German and other Jewish communities during the Nazi reign of terror in their efforts to save the greatest possible number of lives. Rosensaft asked that we “not judge their sometimes controversial actions, as we were not there.” 

Introduced by renowned author and journalist Pete Hamill, Professor Rosensaft was born in 1948 in the displaced persons camp of Bergen-Belsen and has been a prominent leader in Holocaust remembrance activities. He is the founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, chairman of the editorial board of the Holocaust Survivors' Memoirs Project (a joint publishing endeavor with Yad Vashem in Jerusalem), and vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.

Sonia Beker

"If Elie Wiesel deservedly is considered the preeminent voice of Holocaust survivors,” says Former Acting Dean of Continuing Education James Goldman, who has spearheaded JFSA’s Distinguished Speakers Series since 1988, “then Menachem Rosensaft is surely among the foremost eloquent voices of the children of Holocaust survivors." 

During the program, Professor Rosensaft was presented JFSA’s 2011 Distinguished Humanitarian Award by Hamill. Also honored was Sonia Beker, author of Symphony on Fire: A Story of Music and Spiritual Resistance During the Holocaust, a stirring account of her parents, violinist Max Beker and pianist Fania Durmashkin-Beker, members of well-known Vilnius musician families killed in the Holocaust. British composer Ronald Senator (“Holocaust Requiem”) presented the 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award to Beker.

“We were especially pleased to honor these two children of Holocaust survivors,” said JFSA President Albert Sherman, “for their achievements, which have inspired people the world over.”


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