Thursday, November 15, 2012

6th Annual Kristallnacht Lecture With Ben Cooper and Henny Markiewicz Simon


On Monday, November 19, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., the Farmington Libraries will host its sixth annual Kristallnacht lecture with speakers Ben Cooper and Henny Markiewicz Simon. This year the program features the dual telling of stories from World War II and the Nazi concentration camps—one from the perspective of a German Holocaust survivor and one from an American combat medic who helped in the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp.

Henny Markiewicz Simon was born and raised in Hanover, Germany, and is a Holocaust survivor. Her father was able to immigrate to Shanghai, China, but she and her mother were not allowed to follow. Her mother was eventually murdered by the Nazis. Mrs. Simon was imprisoned and later liberated in Poland, where she met her future husband. They were married in August 1945 and on Thanksgiving 1949, she and her family moved to the United States where they bought a farm in Colchester, CT. In 1976, her husband passed away and she went back to school to obtain her GED, a level of schooling denied to her as a Jew in Nazi Germany. She remarried in 1981 and helped her husband run his manufacturing business. He passed away in 2001. Since 1986 she has been speaking at schools and other facilities about her life before, during, and after the Holocaust. 

Ben Cooper was born in Avon, CT and is a lifelong resident of West Hartford. He was drafted into the army in September 1942, at which time he was sent to Camp Barkeley, TX, for medical training.  In 1944, he married Dorothy Zaitlin and was shipped out to Naples, Italy in September of that year, where he was assigned to the 45th infantry division as a combat medic. He served in France and Germany and took part in the liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp with his outfit. Since 1990 he has been speaking to high school and college students as well as civic groups. He lost his wife in 2009 after sixty-five years of marriage.

Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, was a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on November 9-10, 1938. German authorities looked on as SA paramilitary and civilians carried out these attacks and covered the streets with broken glass from the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues. At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and a further 30,000 arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, over 1,000 synagogues were burned, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed or damaged. This annual event at the Farmington Libraries commemorates the human spirit’s ability to overcome such persecution.  

This program is free and open to the public and will take place at 10:00 a.m. at the Farmington main library located at 6 Monteith Drive.  Please contact the library to pre-register: 860-673-6791, or visit our web site: http://www.farmingtonlibraries.org/.

If you have special needs in order to attend this program please contact the library in advance. The Farmington Library is part of the Farmington Village Green and Library Association.