There will be small portions of food for sustenance and heaping servings of food for thought.

Queensborough Community College in Bayside will host a Holocaust Freedom Seder at the Student Union Building on Sunday, April 14, at noon. To last about three hours, this annual event is a recreation of two Passover Seders that Holocaust survivors attended in Munich, Germany, in 1946.

All are invited, but reservations are required and a $14 donation is suggested per person. For more information, contact Marisa Hollywood at 718-281-5770 and/or mhollywood@qcc.cuny.edu.

Organized by the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center, the Seder will feature kosher food and sweet wine. Charles Agin, a retired rabbi who served at the Free Synagogue of Flushing for many years, will lead using copies of the actual Haggadah from 1946. (Haggadahs, which come in many versions, are texts that set the order for the meal and celebrate the Biblical story of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt to Canaan or what is now Israel.)

Entitled “A Survivors’ Haggadah,” the 1946 rendition was published by the Third United States Army, which was occupying Munich at the time. It is believed that Yosef Dov Sheinson, a Lithuanian Hebrew teacher and writer who had been a slave laborer in a concentration camp, wrote the text, while Ziv Miklos Adler, a survivor from Hungary, created the woodcut artwork, although he signed as “Ben Binyamin.”

In English, Hebrew, and Yiddish, the text contains sarcastic digs at the G-d that didn’t intervene during the Holocaust. Listing some of the recent atrocities, part of it reads: Had He given us Hitler, but not ghettos, dayenu (“It would have been enough” or “We would have been content”). Had he given us ghettos, but no gas chambers and crematories, dayenu. Had he given us gas chambers and crematories, but our wives and children had not been tortured, dayenu.

One Adler image depicts a Nazi officer taking a boy from his mother as other Jews plod toward a smokestack.

Rabbi Abraham Judah Klausner, a Jewish chaplain with the U.S. army, conducted the 1946 Seders, which took place at Deutsches Theater on April 15 and 16. The Tennessee native added an introduction that compared the U.S. army to Moses and Hitler to the Egyptian Pharaoh. The mood was glum. Many of the participants had lost family members, homes, businesses, and all their possessions over the previous few years. They were homeless, as a blockade made it impossible to move to the Palestine territory, which became Israel in 1948, and the United States wasn’t accepting them at the time.

Queensborough Community College’s entrance is at 222-05 56th Ave. in Bayside. There is free parking on site.

Pay via check by writing “Kupferberg Holocaust Center/QCC Fund Inc.” in the subject line. Write “Seder 2019” in the memo line.

Established at Queensborough in 1983, the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center uses the lessons of the Holocaust to teach about genocide and other mass atrocities. In addition to offering internships and community programs such as the Holocaust Freedom Seder, it has two galleries, a library, and archives.

Images: My Jewish Learning


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