The Legacy of the Holocaust

Last weekend I attended my first World Federation Conference of Child Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

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Waiting at the Sacramento Airport with friends

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Flying into Burbank Airport

Eleven members of the 2 Gen group from Sacramento participated.

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Photographer at the conference is documenting survivors and descendents for a project

About 600 attendees sat down to meals at the Marriott.

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So many enjoying a meal together. Plenty to eat, plenty to talk about!

The almost 600 attendees participated in many workshops, some panel discussions, dancing, and plenty of good food.

We gather for dinner with friends.

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You can’t be serious! (Kidding.  I didn’t actually listen to conversation)

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It’s all good.

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A 4 day information packed conference with many workshop choices for each generation

The second generation made up the largest group. There is an age difference between the survivors who were over 16 at the end of the war, and those who were under 16 years old at the end of 1945. The personal stories varied, the impact of the Holocaust differed, and the perceptions proved dissimilar.

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Second Generation group broke up into smaller groups after the introductions.

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Candle lighting ceremony

Sarah Moskovitz is honored for her work with child survivors

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Here my friend visits with Sarah

We listened to the lawyer who represented the family in the real life story of Woman in Gold.  

After food the tables are moved out of the way and it is time to dance. Everyone gets into the action.

On the last day after the closing ceremony we went to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. This is a small museum with a lot of information.

I connected with my cousin who I have not seen in at least 46 years. It was a very, very short visit, but at least there was at least a reconnection.

After the convention I tried to talk to my mother. She is feeling very alone right now. After 69 years together with my Dad she is alone. Recently I discovered a letter she wrote to her Uncle Lazar Kahan in Shanghai after the war. Unaware that he passed away right after the war ended the letter was given back to my mother probably by his wife, Shoshana. In the letter she described her terrible journey. Before the age of 19 my mother endured the arrest and murder by the Nazis of my grandfather, Israel Kahan, journalist and owner of Lodzer Nachrichten, moving into the Lodz Ghetto with her mother, and its liquidation in August 1944. My mother and Grandmother were transported to Auschwitz August 1944 where they were separated and my Grandmother was gassed. My mother was sent to work camps as slave labor and ended up in Bergen Belsen. The English liberated the camp in May 1945, but not before she endured death marches trying to stay one step ahead of the Allies.  Liberation, a brief stay in Sweden to recuperate, and a ship brought her to New York. War is over and everyone wants to move on. No psychological help is offered, no knowledge of PTSD. The letter she writes demonstrates that very real damage has been done. Alone, feeling guilty, seeing life without hourly fears, having no support system my mother poured out her feelings in this letter. A couple of months later my Dad enters her life, and she finds a quiet understanding. And then time to start living, start a family, and participate in the American dream.

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Alina and Arthur pose in May 2016, a couple of months before my Dad’s passing

Both my parents gave testimony in the Shoah project started by Steven Spielberg. This is my family legacy.

The Getty Center: Art, Architecture and Gardens Oh My!

Much to my surprise I found a “real” attraction in Los Angeles that doesn’t require a bank account to enjoy. Nothing intentionally fake, or glitzy. Solid entertainment.

While living in Southern California about 35 years ago I visited the Getty Museum, now called The Getty Villa. This second campus, The Getty Center opened in 1997, and I spent a day taking in some of the art, architecture, gardens, and wonderful views.

Parking is the only expense to enjoy this venue. After parking I took a tram up the mountain to the entrance.

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Tram run from parking facility to the entrance

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One of many outdoor sculptures

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Having some fun

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Visiting with my brother

The only way to describe this place is VAST!  The architecture is large.1606_12_Getty_1000280

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The garden area seems to be part architecture in nature.

With the diverse nature of the flowers, I imagine that the look of the garden changes continuously.

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Combination water sculpture, garden area, and wishing well

 

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The architectural details astound from the inside. Looking down.

 

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Or looking up.

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The building frames the view of Los Angeles

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View of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean

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Another view looking out on the Getty Center and another garden

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There is a research center on this campus

The day is over, and the tram is ready to take us back to the parking garage

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Even the tram line pays attention to architecture and gardens

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Thinking about the beach, and so I sampled from the artist.

The art work inside included all genres, and from all time periods. Exhibits are constantly changing. To find out what is new there is a very complete website.  Should I find myself in the area I will make a return trip.

 

 

 

Ananda’s Crystal Hermitage Gardens

Two months ago I visited Ananda Village. It is located in Nevada City, Ca. This place of natural beauty is a hidden gem in Northern California. According to the literature provided, “Ananda started in the late 1960s by Swami Kriyananda. It is one of the longest existing cooperative spiritual communities in the world and is home to about 250 on 800 acres.

The garden began in the 1980’s and the day I visited the tulips were putting on a show. Just take a look.

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Tulips planted and color coordinated

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Planted over a few months so that the blooming season is extended.

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Love the way the colors pop

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Such a peaceful location

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Along with the tulips, the Dogwoods were blossoming.

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Can you tell I like the Dogwood blossom?

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More Dogwood blossoms. I prefer the white ones though.

This is a memorial to Swami Kriyananda.

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Moksha Mandir (Temple of Soul Liberation)

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I liked the color and shape of the Temple

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A splash of coordinated color

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Sunlight through the tulip

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Unusual texture for a tulip

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Where does this peaceful path lead?

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Serenity

Swami Kriyananda wrote,”Increasingly I was coming to see Crystal Hermitage (in terms of) light, space and harmony.” “Everywhere, I decided, there should be a sense of space, of expansion. Everyone who came here should be blessed with a feeling of peace and of joyful harmony.”  I think he succeeded.

 

 

 

Photo Opportunities Expand Cultural Awareness

I attended the Sacramento Valley Scottish Games and Festival held in Woodland April 2015. Along with great photo opportunities, I learned much about the Scottish culture from the participants. One area is set up as “Living History”. Collins English Dictionary defines living+history as, “any of various activities involving the re-enactment of historical events or the recreation of living conditions of the past.”

Fighting amongst the clans

Fighting amongst the clans

I saw historical events acted in costume, crafts, games, and entertainment played out, and daily activities pursued.

Historical reinactment

Historical reinactment

These teachable moments showed visitors that crocheting used only wool, that women were not taught how to read, and many games were played without batteries (lol).

Wool is spun and then crocheted

Wool is spun and then crocheted

Game played using dice

Game played using dice

Lad sets it on the top after pulling it from the bottom. Look familiar?

Lad sets it on the top after pulling it from the bottom. Look familiar?

Athletic events emphasized strength. The caber toss required a man to carry a heavy long pole a distance then toss it so that it flips over at least a half turn.

Caber Toss. This competitor is in his sixties.

Caber Toss. This competitor is in his sixties.

Cabers on display

Cabers on display

Another  event  is the Stone Throw.  weight height where a 56 pound weight is tossed over a horizontal pole.

Weight for Height Competition

Weight for Height Competition

Weight for Distance or Weight Throw where a metal weight with a chain handle is thrown.

Weight for Distance

Weight for Distance

Stone Throw

Stone Throw

Stone Throw. Many techniques used. Similar to modern Shot Put.

Stone Throw. Many techniques used. Similar to modern Shot Put.

Highland Dancing

Highland Dancing

Using electronics to tune this bagpipe

Using electronics to tune this bagpipe

Last minute touches to prepare for competition

Last minute touches to prepare for competition

Met some folks who came from Ireland to compete here in Woodland, Ca.

Met some folks who came from Ireland to compete here in Woodland, Ca.

Meeting the clans as they parade

Meeting the clans as they parade

Instead the usual food available at a Festival I enjoyed a meat pie.

Authentic meat pies of varying types available. Yummy!

Authentic meat pies of varying types available. Yummy!

Entertainment included a Beard and Mustache Contest.

Beard & Mustache contest.

Beard & Mustache contest.

Many categories for the Beard & Mustache Contest

Many categories for the Beard & Mustache Contest

Even the lads got into the action!

Even the lads got into the action.

Obviously this beard is judged for length.

Obviously this beard is judged for length.

Scottish Animals are active participants.

Clydesdale Horses show off their moves in this demonstration. Here they manuever in tight turns.

Clydesdale Horses show off their moves in this demonstration. Here they manuever in tight turns.

Scottish Highland Cattle

Scottish Highland Cattle

I can take care of that itch!

I can take care of that itch!

Friendly Scottish Terrier posed for photograph

Friendly Scottish Terrier posed for photograph

I saw many interesting and I didn’t get over to see the crafts and vendors. Conclusion: this is a more realistic festival. Lots of fun, lots of photo opportunities, and good spirits!