by George J Elbaum
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) is a San Francisco Bay Area social services organization whose mission statement is “Serving individuals and families of all faiths and backgrounds, guided by the Jewish value of caring for those in our community most in need.” As such, JFCS carries a special responsibility within the Jewish community for reaching out to children, the aged, those with special needs, and for the resettlement and acculturation of refugees and immigrants.
Among its many services, the JFCS provides the facilities and arranges presentations on the Holocaust to visiting student groups. Such day-long visits to the Holocaust Center normally start with a lesson from Holocaust Center staff to provide historical context that ties into and is followed by a presentation from a Holocaust survivor. My talk today was to the 8th grade students from Town School for Boys, an independent K-8 day school in San Francisco, CA, emphasizing academics and character education. The students recently read Night by Elie Wiesel and had lessons on racism, the rise of the Nazi party and propaganda. They were accompanied by teachers Antika Singh, Jim de Carion, and Christine Park.
My talk was ably arranged by Nikki Bambauer, JFCS Holocaust Center’s Program Coordinator, while JFCS Holocaust Center’s Associate Director Alexis Herr led a workshop with the students in an examination and analysis of propaganda directed toward youth in Nazi Germany and then introduced me to the audience.