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A Community Commemoration of the Holocaust, April 1

“The Secret Concentration Camp Diary of Norwegian Odd Nansen,” a community Holocaust commemoration will be held on Thursday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom. This virtual event, presented by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, is free and open to the public. 

Featured speaker Timothy Boyce will recount Odd Nansen’s life-saving work providing a haven for Jewish refugees and all who were fleeing Nazi persecution. After he was arrested, Nansen maintained a secret diary on tissue-paper pages which included his drawings of the horrors of concentration camp life in real-time. This diary and its drawings, published after the war and titled From Day to Day: One Man’s Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps, provided an important first-hand account of the atrocities perpetrated at Sachsenhausen.

At Sachsenhausen, Odd Nansen risked his life to save a ten-year-old Jewish boy named Tommy who had miraculously survived the infamous death march from Auschwitz. Today, Tommy is Professor Thomas Buergenthal, a former judge on the International Court of Justice at the Hague, and Professor Emeritus at George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. Years later, Professor Buergenthal would write, “Odd Nansen not only saved my life; he also enriched it with his philosophy of life.”

During the commemoration, Rabbi David Weiner of Knesset Israel will offer a benediction and Senator Adam Hinds will present opening remarks. Following the speaker, Rabbi Barbara Cohen of Congregation Ahavath Sholom will facilitate a memorial candlelighting and prayers in memory of those murdered during the Holocaust. Participants will have the opportunity to submit the names of loved ones who perished during the Holocaust. Visit jewishberkshires.org to register.

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