Holocaust Symposium with the Lappin Foundation

This past summer 18 Duxbury High School students participated in a Holocaust Symposium, consisting of six incredible weeks spent with survivors, professors and educators learning about the Holocaust and what it means today. The program was supported by the team at the Lappin Foundation and DSU.

The Lappin Foundation is committed to enhancing Jewish identity across generations through exciting, FREE programs for children, teens and adults including: Youth to Isreal programs; Interfaith Outreach; Introduction to Judaism; Jewish film screenings, book groups, and speakers on current events; and Jewish educational resource materials.

Week One: The Path to Nazi Genocide Video
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Week 2: Dr. Hans Fisher Zoom call

Debbie Coltin introduces the stages of the Holocaust and asks what does the Holocaust have to do with me? It is followed by a meeting with Dr. Hans Fisher and his journey on the MS St Louis. Watch the Video

Week 3: The Librarian of Auschwitz

While reading the book, we were confronted with the precarious nature of 90+ year old survivors and unfortunately Dita Kraus, the Librarian of Auschwitz, was hospitalized 48 hours prior to our Zoom. This link above, is a wonderful interview with Dita Kraus, where she shares the hacks of the book; the truths along with the fictitious characters and stories the author created. It is fascinating…she did meet Dr. Mengele in real life.

Week 3: The David Schaecter Zoom

The David Schaecter Zoom was not recorded but it sure was emotional and impactful for the 71 participants attending. David’s story is a documentary, Call to Remember available for a donation on PBS.

Students and adults were so grateful to meet David and Abby Cristofaro created this Thank you and happy birthday video for him, with messages from students and adults.

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Week 4: Dr. Noam Weissman

Dr. Noam Weissman outlined how to see and hear Antisemitism in our community and country, with alarming statistics in the U.S and abroad. Watch the Video

Week 5: National Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C. visit

Each student connected directly with their assigned Holocaust person’s ID card and wrote a letter to their Holocaust person, empathizing with their experience and promising to never forget their name.

Week 6: Dr. Chris Mauriello from Salem State’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Dr. Chris Mauriello from Salem State’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies delivered an incredible discussion on what makes genocides and the Holocaust unique and comparative, and how “othering” and prejudice continue to create conditions for mass violence.

Week 7: Certificate ceremony

A celebration of the six week experience together

How can you keep this important work going?

1. Advocate – with your peers and advocate in your community.

State Reps, Kathy Lanatra & Josh Cutler and State Senator Patrick O’Connor are co-sponsoring the H692/S1973 bills for Holocaust and Genocide Education funding.

Sen O’Connor shared : “The Senate version, S1973, and the House version, H692, have a few differences between them but the end goal is the same. In summary, the Senate bill is slightly more expansive. It establishes a definition for genocide that encompasses all noteworthy acts of this kind worth being educated about. Both bills establish a Genocide Education Trust Fund and set reporting requirements for the Commissioner of DESE. The two versions are organized differently but contain essentially similar provisions. I attached both bills to this email, in case your students would like to view them side by side and discern the slight differences.”

If you are interested to learn more about these bills, we can set up a Zoom call with the legislators. Now is the time to send letters of testimony to the Chairs of the Committee on Education (Representative Alice Peisch and Senator Jason Lewis). Testimony should include why the bill is needed, the problems it could solve, and any other personal insights on the issue. If you are interested, we can arrange a field trip to the State House to advocate for the bills.

2. Share your journalism skills to create a magazine of resources and stories of your experience to share with peers, school faculty and the community. Student journalists have written stories for the Clipper newspaper and Jewish Boston publication.

3. Start to plan January 27th, 2022 – Holocaust Remembrance Day. This plan could include engaging school administration, community leaders, and town officials.

4. Join Duxbury’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Teen Task Force and support issues important to you. This group meets about four times per year at DSU. The Lappin Foundation also has a Teen Antisemitism Task Force you are all welcome.

At the Certificate Ceremony – State Senator Patrick O’Connor, Holocaust Legacy Foundation founder, Jodi Kipnis, State Representative Kathy LaNatra, Lappin Foundation Executive Director, Debbie Coltin, DSU Executive Director, Sue Bradford, Ella Edwards, Olivia Kyriakides, Molly Taberner, Josh Kraft of Kraft Philanthropies and Together Beat Hate, DSU Assistant Director, Jess McDermott, Eva McDermott and Gavin McDermott.
You did this! Take all you have learned and share it…everywhere.

Thank you also to Debbie Coltin, Sarah Ovadia and Sharon Wyner at the Lappin Foundation, Karen Wong of Duxbury for ALL for her beautiful photos, Pilgrim Church Youth Director, Angelique Kania, DSU’s Jess McDermott & Sue Bradford, DHS Principal Jim Donovan, DHS Football Coach, Matt Landolfi, Duxbury Superintendent Danielle Klingaman, and Duxbury Schools’ DEI Director, Caitlan Sheehan, and countless family members, friends and community members for your support of these amazing 18 teens.

Board of Directors

2021 - 2022

Gretchen O’Donnell | President
Sue Bradford | Executive Director
Cate Adams | Treasurer
Jodi Enggasser | Secretary
Sean Dadsetan-Foley
Laurel Deacon
Katie Ray
Sarah Reardon
Bridget Pratt

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