Past Events 2021

They Played for Their Lives discussion

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 7:00pm

Watch a Recording of this discussion:

Through intimate interviews and live performances, They Played for Their Lives artfully portrays how music saved the lives of young musicians. Playing music in the ghettos and concentration camps not only fostered spiritual strength within themselves and others, but often proved a bargaining tool that spared their lives. The documentary follows the personal narratives of eight survivors.

You can watch the documentary on your own from March 28 - March 30, then on March 30 at 7pm, join us for a panel discussion with Dorita Berger, Peter Stein and Howard Reich. Links provided with registration.

Dorita S. Berger, PhD, MT-BC, LCAT. Dr. Berger studied Dalcroze Eurhythmics with Marta Sanchez during her BFA Music Degree training at Carnegie Mellon University, followed by MA and PhD Degrees in Music Therapy (NYU, and Roehampton University, UK) She resides in Durham, NC, where she is Research Affiliate and Supervisor for music and brain investigations at UNC-CH Medical School Frohlich Neuroscience Lab, and has been Faculty of Duke OLLI (Lifelong Learning) Program, while conducting group classes for “ON THE MOVE: Rhythm-Kinetics for Parkinson’s and Movement Rehabilitation©”.

Peter Stein, PhD. Peter Stein was born in 1936 in Prague, Czechoslovakia to a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, just two years before Nazi occupation. His father was forced into slave labor and later deported to Terezin (Theresienstadt), a work and death camp, and managed to survive, but his family of nine were all killed. During the war, Peter attended a school where photos of Adolf Hitler and the German flag were displayed in every classroom. He dealt with antisemitism and lived through air raid drills and bombings by Allied aircraft. For a number of years, Dr. Stein worked as Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. He taught courses on the Holocaust and developed workshops for teachers and community members.

Howard Reich is the Emmy Award-winning writer-producer of three documentary films and the author of six books, including “The Art of Inventing Hope: Intimate Conversations with Elie Wiesel” and “Prisoner of Her Past: A Son’s Memoir.” Howard was born in Chicago and at age 10 moved with his family to Skokie, a northern suburb that was a nexus of Holocaust survivors. A graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Music, he began contributing cultural coverage to the Chicago Tribune in 1978, joined the staff in 1983 and retired from the newspaper in 2021. His work as the Tribune’s arts critic has taken him to London, Paris, Warsaw, Vienna, Moscow, Munich, Prague, Havana, Panama and other locals, as well as deep into one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the world: Chicago. He holds two honorary doctorate degrees and has served on the Pulitzer Prize music jury four times, including the first time a jazz composition won: Wynton Marsalis “Blood on the Fields” in 1997.

Additional Resources: (PDF)  2021 Holocaust Remembrance Music and the Holocaust.pdf

​​​​​​​​​​Annual Durham-chapel Hill Yom HaShoah Commemoration​

One Survivor Remembers 

Sunday, April 11, 2021 4:00 PM 

Zoom event

A recording of this event is

available here.

We are honored to have Holocaust survivor Ben Lesser as our speaker.

Born in Krakow, Poland in 1928, Ben survived several ghettos, concentration

camps, death marches, and death trains, including the notorious three-week

death train from Buchenwald to Dachau that arrived just three days before liberation.

Today he is the last living survivor of that infamous train ride. Since his retirement

from a career in real estate, Ben has devoted his life to preserving the memory of

the Shoah. He founded the ZACHOR Holocaust Remembrance Foundation in 2009.

His memoir, Living a Life That Matters: From Nazi Nightmare to American Dream,

was published in 2011.

Please join us to hear Ben’s incredible story and commemorate Yom HaShoah.

Also Featured in the Program:

-Announcement of the winners of the 14th Annual
Holocaust Remembrance Essay Contest,

sponsored by the Penny Daum Aldrich Endowment Fund
​for Holocaust Remembrance

-Memorial candle-lighting ceremony

-Recitation of Kaddish and El Male Rachamim
by Rabbi Soffer, Judea Reform Congregation

Sponsored by

The Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education

and Jewish For Good

Holocaust Speakers Bureau and the Levin Jewish Community Center


For additional information contact Sharon Halperin:


The Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and 

Human Rights ​Education of North Carolina 

Holocaust Speakers Bureau 

My Friend Abe: A Holocaust Survivor's Story

January 24, 2021 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Abe Piasek was separated from his family at age 12 and survived four death camps in Poland and Germany, including Auschwitz. When he was liberated at age 16, Abe weighed less than 80 pounds. Abe shared his story with hundreds of groups throughout North Carolina because he felt that "people need to know" what happened. He told his story as a warning of what can happen when hate and dehumanization go unchecked.

Steve Goldberg, a friend of Abe's, will conduct a Zoom presentation followed by a Q&A session about why Abe's story matters today.

This FREE event is brought to you by Jewish for Good and the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education of North Carolina. Registration required. Register here:​

Bonnie Hauser Telling Her Mother's Story
April 30, 2021

Bonnie Hauser is the daughter of Rebecca Hauser (link to Rebecca's video is available above),

a Holocaust survivor from Ioannina, Greece. In 1944, Rebecca and her family and the entire

Jewish community of Ioannina were deported to Auschwitz.  She was later transferred to the

Bergen-Belsen concentration camp complex. As Allied and Soviet forces advanced into Germany

in late 1944 and early 1945, Bergen-Belsen became a collection camp for thousands of Jewish

prisoners evacuated from camps closer to the front. The arrival of thousands of new prisoners,

many of them survivors of forced evacuations on foot, overwhelmed the meager resources of

the camp. In April, 1945 British forces liberated the camp.​​​

Auschwitz Virtual Tour

​Wednesday, January 26th at 5pm EST.

Join us for a unique learning experience about the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp,

that uses historical footage, Holocaust survivor testimonies, panorama pictures and modern

animation to teach about the world’s most infamous concentration camp.

The group tours are live, led by expert tour guides in Poland.

This program is brought to you in partnership with the Center for Holocaust Education

of the EVJCC and the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights ​Education

of North Carolina.

$18.00 Space is limited.
Register here: