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Ithaca Descendants of Holocaust Survivors

2G Holocaust Group

Who are we?

At least one member of our families survived the Holocaust. They emigrated to safety prior to, during, or after World War II. Many moved or ran from one country to another. Some were part of resistance movements, some hid, some were hidden, some of our families suffered internment in Nazi concentration camps and death camps. Some were forced laborers and enslaved to dominant regimes. Some of our ancestors survived with their families intact and some lost their entire family. Some escaped with their fortunes, some had not much to lose, some lost or had everything confiscated. Most suffered combinations of these horrors. 

As a group, we represent every imaginable Jewish category and affiliation: Our relationship to being Jewish varies from very observant, to some of us practicing other faiths, to secular Jews. Some of us are members of Chabad, the Orthodox Minyan in Ithaca, Temple Beth El, Tikkun v’Or or Kol Haverim. And some of us are practicing or non-practicing Jews with no Temple affiliation.

Some of our families became Zionists and moved to Israel; others moved to the US.  Eventually we all landed here in Ithaca.

As we grew up some of our parents/ancestors never shared their experiences, and some couldn’t stop talking about it. Many of us have been affected by the trauma of their experiences. We share one or more of the following interests concerning our experiences:

  • What is our responsibility to preserve and transmit the herstories/histories of this period so that they are instructive to the next generation in order to prevent the seeds of hatred from taking root, and if already rooted, from becoming toxic and dangerous?
  • What can be learned about intergenerational issues and the transmission of trauma and how might we help one another and others who still suffer?
  • How does our being descendants of a Holocaust survivor influence how we react to the increase in supremacist movements, anti-Semitism, Holocaust deniers, and the movements that advocate the abolition of Israel?

The overall focus of this group is an exploration of our family's relationship to the Holocaust and how our ancestors and how we have been, or continue to be impacted. Some of us are interested in Social Action, some in Holocaust Education, and some in Intergenerational issues. Many of us are interested in aspects of all three areas or their intersection.

This is an intimate group in which we share personal experiences, family stories and insights. We learn and grow in our understanding and compassion by listening to one other. In our meetings, we strive to offer a safe space, and to provide the opportunity for self-reflection and self-discovery, as we learn how each of us has been impacted by the Holocaust.

This group is non-political. We appreciate our differences and our commonalities. We make it a priority to create a peaceful experience where we feel comfort and solidarity with one another. Differences of opinion are shared with respect.

A Convening Team plans agendas and welcomes suggestions.

For our first two years, we focused our membership on 2Gs (Second Generation Holocaust Survivors). We have over 70 names on the list of those we contacted. Our Gatherings usually draw from 12-25 people. We are reaching out and extending our group to include 3Gs and 4Gs—third and fourth generation survivors.  Including the voices of more generations of Holocaust descendants, will bring solidarity, awareness and strengthen the group. They are after all, those who will keep memories of the Holocaust alive long after the 1Gs and 2Gs are no longer with us. We welcome the younger generations and look forward to sharing our experiences and learning from each other, together.

This Gathering is affiliated with the IAUJC (Ithaca Area United Jewish Community), however individuals need not be affiliated with the IAUJC to participate.  We usually meet on the first Sunday of the month at The History Center in Tompkins County. 

We welcome your interest. Please click on this link in order to be added to our group. A member of our group will contact you and make sure you know when and where we will be gathering and answer any questions you may have.

The History Center
110 North Tioga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 273-8284