In commemoration of Yom HaShoah, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston co-sponsored several joint school programs for a presentation of “Voices of the Generations,” by Julie Kohner.
Congregations Beth Yeshurun and Emanu El’s fourth-to 12th-grade religious school students came together for the program at Emanu El on April 18. And, on April 19, Beren Academy and Torah Day School brought their fifth- to 12th-graders together for the presentation at Beren Academy.
“Voices of the Generations” is based on Hanna Kohner’s story of survival, to show that not all Holocaust stories had such tragic endings. Julie Kohner offers her mother’s story through a 1953 presentation of the old TV show, “This Is Your Life,” on which she appeared as the first Holocaust survivor to tell her story on national TV. She uses the clip to talk about her mother’s story and share her experiences growing up as a child of a survivor.
Julie Kohner has presented “Voices of the Generations” for the last 20 years. Her parents, Hanna and Walter, encouraged and prepared her to become their voice for future generations. They wrote an autobiography, “Hanna and Walter, A Love Story,” which traces their steps from the 1930s in Czechoslovakia to California after World War II. In addition, they took their daughter on a pilgrimage through Europe, stopping at many of the places described in their book. Julie Kohner teaches the Holocaust through its impact on one family, from the millions devastated by those events.
In recent years, “Voices of the Generations” has become a nonprofit charity and has been presented throughout the United States, to both secular and non-secular groups. Her programs have been sponsored by Jewish Federations and Community Centers in New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Houston and St. Louis. Julie Kohner has published curriculum to accompany “Hanna and Walter, A Love Story,” preparing other teachers to teach the Holocaust. “Voices of the Generations” is listed by the Los Angeles Unified School District, as approved for Holocaust education.
This program is one of many examples of the way Houston community schools work together in cooperation with the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston to bring quality programs to students.