WFJCSH&D conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, 9- 12 November 2018

Again we have participated in a wonderful conference, this time at Florida’s east coast.

The weather was great and we stayed in the nice Marriot West Palm Beach hotel, where we could sit and schmooze in a spacious lobby, a wonderful garden and relax and swim in the pool.

The organisers had selected for us many interesting workshops and panel discussions so that sometimes it was very difficult to choose where to go.

The opening evening started with the commemoration of Kristallnacht; now 80 years ago. Melissa Hacker , President of the Kindertransport Association, referred in her speech to the connection between the pogrom of November 9, 1938 and the Kindertransport, and Max Arpels Lezer, Vice-President of the WF, spoke about Kristallnacht from a very personal point of view. Two moving speeches that brought tears to people’s eyes.

After the breakfasts and after lunches we had the opportunity to listen to very interesting key-note speakers.

The speech of Dr. Robert Krell was so moving that your reporter noticed that several people had tears in their eyes.

But also the speeches of Dr. Anna Rosner,  Ira Forman and Dr. Alan Berger were very interesting. We heard their opinions about anti-Semitism, where it comes from and how to fight this. How this touches our day to day life and how much we worry about it.

Dr. Berger talked about “Proximity and distance”: the third generation. For the next generations a very interesting topic.

The World Federation should be proud that almost 400 people attended this conference.

When looking at the statistics we noted that out of the nearly 400 attendees 366 persons had a USA passport, 15 persons came from Canada, 3 from Australia, 2 from Ecuador and 2 from France. 4 people came from Israel and 4 from The Netherlands, and we spoke with 1 attendee who came from Poland.

bFor years we now we have noticed a decline in Survivors coming to these conferences, that is of course for obvious reasons. However the conference does not see a decline in the total number of attendees.

That is because the 2nd and 3rd generations also take a great interest in coming to the conferences, they are interested in interaction between the survivors and themselves. There are also workshops and panels especially focussed on their issues.

We have seen 117 attendees of the 1st generation and 216 of the 2nd plus 3rd generation.

Beside the survivors and their descendants we have seen 40 spouses and 24 Kindertransport survivors and descendants.

Your reporter attended a very nice and open conference, with a wonderful and friendly atmosphere, well organised and much room for interaction between survivors and descendants.

 The conference committee including theconference coordinator Susan Dubin of the WFJCSH&D deserves a big and well deserved compliment.

When writing this small report it is unknown where next years conference will be held but wherever we will meet again, hopefully the food will be better.

by: Max Arpels Lezer

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