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August 6, 2004

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Ry Ruth Ellen Gruber ~IM, Poland town where was located has a trove of Judaica. an excavation of the site of the Synagogue the town in Poland where was built, ar- Working from a unique trove of ects. which had the Holo- three bronze )ras, a bronze ~, 10 chandeliers tarnid, or eternal hung before ark. Tiles, charred other material ue, which ) the ground in Nazi forces, Uncovered. the became real for a young Jewish Overland Park, recognized camp survi- on her desk. he said, 'I those and it be- .~r'"the ere was this little and 3roduct of )" had bought the store, is of educa- States Holocaust to lit of legislation the last de- ey, Florida, New nois and Massa- that the taught in their 11 state govern- ~rnmend that the Holocaust, haven't passed it. Stahl, executive of the Jewish instituting Is noble, it's not don't come money, so a mandate to and there's no KAPLAN IofApopka, July 25, years old. was born in Was a home- by her Kaplan of ere entrusted Memorial ROTH of Winter Tuesday, NEWS, AUGUST 6, 2004 "We didn't include a miracle in our operating budget, but now we have to deal with one," said Tomasz Kuncewicz, director of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, a prayer and study complex near the site of the notori- ous death camp. The find represents the complete interior moveable furnishings of the syna- gogue. "It's amazing to have found something so complete," Kuncewicz said. "It seems as if such a discovery never hap- pened before." Before World War II, Oswiecim was a bus- tling town of 12,000 people, more than half of them Jews. Most local Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and only one of the town's synagogues survived the war. Long used as a warehouse, it was restituted to Polish Jews in 1998 and then refur- bished and reconsecrated as part of the Auschwitz Jew- It's this void that the foundation aims to fill by bt~n~ing 40 middle school and hlgi, ,-hool teachers to its Holocaust ca,~ation program each summer aL Columbia University in New York City. The foundation spon- sors the teachers through fellowships in memory of Alfred Lerner, former CEO of MBNA Corp. and a sup- porter of the foundation's programs, particularly in Holocaust education. The teachers are selected from areas in the United States where the foundation operates Holocaust training centers. Educators from Poland and Croatia also at- tended this year's seminar. Teachers say that before the program at Columbia, which was held June 27- July 1, they received their Holocaust education from the Internet, museums and readings. At the seminar, the teach- ers attended lectures by top scholars--including Ne- chama Tec, Henry Feingold, Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt--and then met in discussion groups to learn how to apply the lessons to their classrooms. Kaysheila Mitchell, a high school teacher from Duluth, Ga says she will be more confident teaching the Ho- locaust after the seminar at Columbia. "I'm here because I know I can't always run and ask the history teacher or get on July 27, 2004. He was 73 years old. Mr. Roth was born in Or- lando, Fla. and was a lifelong resident. He was a graduate of Orlando Senior High School. Mr. Roth was an attorney. He was a Life Member of the Gator Booster Club, a retired member of the Florida Bar Association, a Secretary of the Orange CountyBar, a member of the American Bar Associa- tion admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court, ish Center complex, which opened in 2000. The center tells the story of prewar Jew- ish life here and elsewhere in Poland. Funded by Polish and Is- raeli sources and filmed for Israeli television, the four- week excavation got under way at the end of May. The only clue where to dig had been the account of an elderly Holocaust survivor who recalled seeing the synagogue caretaker bury two large boxes near the synagogue shortly after the Nazi invasion in September 1939. Archeologists from the University of Torun first dug at two sites based on the recollection of the survivor, Yishayahu Yarot. Yarot was born in Oswiecim and moved to Israel after the war, where he became a shop- keeper in Ramat Hasharon. In 1998, when he was 90, Yarot had a chance encounter with the Internet," said Mitchell, a language arts teacher. "I think it's important for me to have the facts straight and know what I am talking ~hout." Though the Internet can pJ,~, a quick fix to questions on the ~l,~caust, teachers say there's nothm~ better than old-fashioned education to illuminate the past. David Schwartz of the Randolph Township, N.J. public schools thinks the lectures he attended make him more qualified to teach the Holocaust. "Some of these people are people I have read extensively, and to meet them, hear their voices and attach thei r voices to their writings provides me with a lot more passion," Schwartz said. The foundation's primary purpose is to highlight the role played by Holocaust rescuers. The group sends money to 1,600 individuals considered rescuers by Isra- el's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. As a result, the role of "Righteous Gentiles'--and the possibility of good in the face of evil--was emphasized during the seminar, now in its fifth year. "The education program preserves the rights of the rescuers," Stahl said. "We teach the history behind the Holocaust, and in that contextual setting we teach rescue." Ernesto Diaz from Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, N.J be- a member of Tau Epsiion Chi, and a volunteer for Jewish Family Services. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Roth of Winter Park; sons, B. Kyle (Cecily-Sue) Roth of Odenton, Md. and Howard N. (S.T. Bass, Jr.) Roth of Orlando; daughter, Mollie Jo (James W.) Lazea of Mil- waukee, Wis.; brother, Tony (Xandra) Roth of Winter Park; and four grandchildren. Services were entrusted to Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel, Orlando. PAGE 13 ue a customer, Yariv Nornberg, a young Israeli just out of the army who was about to tour death camps in Poland. That led Yarot to recount his memory of synagogue officials burying two metal boxes. He drew Nornberg a map showing where he thought the boxes were buried. "He thought Torahs were buried, but no Torahs were found," Kuncewicz said. After archeologists found nothing at the original dig- ging places, they began a general excavation of the synagogue foundations. "They excavated several trenches," Kuncewicz said. "The objects were found in the last place they were dig- ging, just a few days before the end of the four-week excavation." He said the recovered objects appear to have been hidden under the floor of the synagogue, below a staircase. "When you find remnants of Jewish life so close to where the Nazis committed their horrors, it's extremely moving," Israeli filmmaker Yahaly Gat, who filmed the search, told Ma'ariv news- paper. The uncovered objects ap- pear to be generally in good condition, though covered with green corrosion. Kuncewicz said they must go through a year-long res- toration process that will cost about $100,000. They then will be displayed in the Jewish center. "We feel a great respon- sibility to rescue and save this treasure and make it available to people who come to visit," Kuncewicz said. "These objects will definitely be evidence about the diversity and richness of Jewish life in Poland and in this town, which before the war was a thriving Jewish community." The site where the Great Synagogue stood long had been an empty lot, with no indication that a building that could seat 2,000 people, constructed around 1800, had stood there. In a related development, the Jewish center is devel- oping a project to turn the house of Oswiecim's last Jewish resident, a Holocaust survivor who died four years ago, into a museum that will show typical Jewish family life in Poland. The house stands next to the Jewish center complex. The Auschwitz Jewish Cen- ter's exhibitions and activi- ties, Kuncewicz said, serve to "give a broader context of the place. Here in this site, which symbolizes the destruction of the Jewish people, it shows that before this there was a thriving Jewish community, which lived here for over 500 years. This center is about this life, which was so tragically destroyed." over summer lieves the Holocaust is one of the most enriching subjects in his curriculum. "I look forward every year to teach the section on the Holocaust because if there is any section that captivates my students' attention, it's when Poland, lives 12 miles from Treblinka. He thinks his students benefit from their proximity to the camp. "I organize the lessons with people who remember that time, so it makes the students closer to that time you talk about the issues re- of history," Laskowski said. lateu ~ humanity," he said. "The students realize that The HolocaL,~,~ message in this part of the earth what also resonates in classru ,~ happened was such a tragic outside American. h"~-'~nt in history." Many of WojciechLaskowski, ahigh the teacn~, attending the schoolteacher from Lochow, seminar aren't Jew~, nor are their students. But Paula Laurita, from a Catholic school in Madison, Ala says her students still need to learn about the Holocaust. "I need to be able to go to my students with the information that there aren't always easy answers to this, but they have a continual challenge, just as I do, of becoming a better person and a better citizen to create a better world," Laurita said. "It's not a Jewish issue, it's an issue of humanity." FDN makes it easy and affordable to keep your business on the cutting edge of technology with a variety of product packages, premier calling features, con- solidated billing and outstanding cus- tomer service. From voice to Internet, FDN has everything your business needs to keep you communicating! COMMUNICATIONS Call today to find out how we can save you 20-40% off your current local, long distance, and Internet services! .com