Giving Back

Livingston Residents to Be Recognized at Holocaust Commemoration

April 10, 2014 at 1:00 AM

UNION, NJ - Holocaust survivors Gerda and Norbert Bilakes of Livingston will be recognized at “A Moral Mandate: Memories of the Unimaginable,” this year’s Yom Hashoah Holocaust Memorial at 6:45 p.m. on Monday, April 28, at the Wilkins Theater at Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave., Union. The annual event is sponsored by the Holocaust Council of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and Kean University.

Dr. Paul Winkler, executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, who was instrumental in creating the New Jersey mandate for Holocaust education in schools, will be honored at the event; survivor Cantor Judith Steel of Queens, N.Y., will also be recognized.

Kristallnacht is widely considered to be the official start of the Holocaust. The SS St. Louis, carrying 947 Jews, was turned away from Havana and the U.S. and forced to return to Europe; many of its passengers were murdered in concentration camps. The Kindertransport is credited to having rescued nearly 10,000 children primarily from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland in the nine months prior to the outbreak of the World War II.

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Gerda Bikales has vivid memories of Kristallnacht although she was only a child at the time; Norbert Bikales survived the Holocaust because of the Kindertransport.

Over the past 50 years, Dr. Winkler has been a teacher, principal, superintendent, regional education director, New Jersey deputy assistant commissioner of education for exceptional children at the New Jersey Department of Education, and director of a teacher training center. He has written many articles dealing with Holocaust and genocide education. His most recent publication is Teaching the Unspeakable — The New Jersey Story of Holocaust/Genocide Education, which tells of the 30-year history of Holocaust/genocide education in New Jersey.

The event is free and open to the community. Sign-language interpretation by nationally certified ASL-English interpreter will be provided. For further information and to RSVP, visit or call 973) 929-3194 or (908) 288-2416.

Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ (Federation) stands at the center of a network of 27 partner agencies dedicated to providing comprehensive social services and meeting the educational, vocational, recreational, and social needs of Jews locally, in Israel, and in 70 countries around the world. Federation also creates ways/spaces for people to connect to a multitude of Jewish experiences in personally meaningful ways. Responding to emergency and disaster situations around the world is another important part of the Federation mission.

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