WFJHS&D 2023 Conference Program

The 2023 World Federation of Jewish Holocaust Survivors & Descendants conference, in conjunction with Generations of the Shoah International and The Kindertransport Association, will be held August 25-28 2023 in Washington DC at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. This conference is open only to survivors and descendants and accompanying spouses/partners. Conference co-sponsors include the Child Survivor organization of the DC area, the Generations After, and 3GDC.

For those arriving early, there are special docent led tours of the USHMM Thursday and Friday morning. Pre-registration for these tours is required and limited to 25 people per time slot.

The conference will open officially with check in on Friday afternoon and opportunities to attend Orthodox or Egalitarian Shabbat services followed by greetings from dignitaries and a festive Shabbat dinner. After dinner, attendees will go to informal gatherings by counties of the family’s origin. Kindertransport all generations, and third generation groups will have their own informal sessions.

Saturday’s plenary sessions will be Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma by Dr. Irit Felsen and What is the U.S. Government Doing With Regard to Holocaust Issues? featuring Eli Rosenbaum and Ellen Germain. Panels and seminars on Saturday will include Growing up LGBTQ+ in a Survivor Family, Speakers’ Training, Reclaiming EU Citizenship, and a presentation by the USHMM.

Sunday plenary sessions include Missing Pieces: Growing Up in the Shadow of the Holocaust, a panel presentation about the memoirs written by 14 daughters of Holocaust Survivors who are members of the Generations After group in the Washington, D.C., How Growing Up in a Survivor Family Impacted Our Lives and Work, featuring Rabbi Justin Pines and Amy Spitalnick; and a Claims Conference Update by Greg Schneider. Panels and seminars will include Memoir Writing, How Can I Interview My Family To Document Their Stories, Hitkansut: A New Model of Holocaust Remembrance, and International Holocaust Commemoration.

As always, the heart of the conference will be the many interactive workshops offered on both days for Survivors, Second, Third Generations, Spouses/Partners to get together and talk about the issues that are unique to us. These workshops include: Two Generations Together; What Is there Left To Do That We Haven’t Done Yet; As a 2G What Am I Uniquely Positioned To Do; As 3Gs What will We Do When We Leave This Conference; What Has It Meant To Me To Be Part Of a Survivor Family; How Are Holocaust Experiences Affecting Us Today; How Has Being a Descendant of Holocaust Survivors Affected My Life.

The conference will conclude with a panel of third generation leaders discussing their goals and plans for the future as well as a moving closing ceremony.

Special optional events available are visits to the USHMM for a free self-guided tour, opportunities to arrange appointments to do individual research either before or after the conference, visits to the new Capitol Jewish Museum, and a guided tour of the Shapell Conservation and Research Center, where the USHMM stores its collections. Details to follow!

We encourage you to join us for this Gathering of the Generations! All  Survivors and members of Survivor, Second, Third or Fourth Generation Families are invited.

Register online here!

Here is the program as of July 22nd. Schedule is liable to change, so check back closer to the conference date.

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

WEDNESDAY
11am, 1pm, 3pm Optional tour of the new Capital Jewish Museum – 20 person limit, register in advance (Transportation on your own)

THURSDAY
9:00/9:30 AM Optional docent led tours; limit of 25 Docent led tour of USHMM (Transportation on your own)
9:00 AM -3PM WF Executive Committee Meeting

FRIDAY
9:00/9:30 AM Optional docent led tours; limit of 25 Docent led tour of USHMM (Transportation on your own)
9:00 AM-4PM WF Governing Board Meeting

12:00-6pm Registration

2:00 PM-3 PM Open to all Film discussion with Aviva Kempner

5 -6 PM New at conference Orientation
5-6 PM Facilitators Orientation

6-6:50 PM Open to all Friday night Shabbat services

6:50 PM Candlelighting
7:00 – 7:15 PM Honoring Stefanie Seltzer
7:15 – 8:45 Dinner

8:45-10 PM Informal Get -Togethers by Countries of Origin
Poland
Baltic states/Russia/Central Europe
France/Belgium
Germany/Austria
Netherlands
3Gs
Kindertransport all generations

SATURDAY
7:30- 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:15-10:30 AM Plenary: Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma

10:35 AM-12:20 Survivors only How are Holocaust Experiences Affecting Us Today?
2G only How Has Being a Child of Survivors Affected My Life in General?
2G only How Has Being a Child of Survivors Affected My Life in General?
3G/4G How Has Being a Descendent of Holocaust Survivors Affected My Life
Spouses/Partners What Has It Been Like Being a Part of a Survivor Family and How Has This Affected Me?
Panel Open to All Growing Up LGBTQ+ in a Survivor Family

12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:45-3:00 PM Plenary What are some of the things the US State Department and the Department of Justice are doing for Survivors and to honor the legacy of the Holocaust?

3:15-5:15 PM Survivors only As Survivors, What Are Our Concerns Now?
2G only How Has Being a Child of Survivors Affected Who I Am?
2G only Facing a Future Without Survivors
3G/4G only What Motivates Us to Tell Our Family Stories?
All Generations Speakers Training

5:30-6:30 PM All Generations Reclaiming your ancestral citizenship or considering it?

7 -8:30 PM Dinner
8:45 Havdalah
9-11 PM Music and Dancing

SUNDAY
7:30- 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:15-10:15 AM Plenary Missing Pieces: Growing Up in the Shadow of the Holocaust

10:30 AM –12:00 Survivors only What Do I Want to Tell My Children/Grandchildren/Others About Me Before It’s Too Late?
2G only What Have We Learned Since We First Heard Our Family Stories and What Will Be Our Legacy?
3G Where Do We Go From Here?
Spouses/Partner What has it meant to me to be part of a Survivor family?
Open to All Memoir writing
Open to All How can I interview my family to get their story? USC Shoah Foundation and USHMM share how to interview family members

12:30-1:30 Lunch
2:00-2:45 PM Plenary As 3G’s, How Has Growing Up in a Survivor Family influenced the Work You Do?

3:00-5:00 PM Survivors only We Have Always Been Resilient and Independent, Yet the Future May Mean Loss of Independence. How Do We Cope?
Open to All Reflections on Interfaith Marriage in Survivors’ or Descendants’ Families
All Generations Three Generations Getting to Know Each Other
Panel Open to All International Perspectives on Holocaust Commemoration
Open to All An Innovative Approach to Remembering the Shoah

5:15-6:15 PM Claims Conference Update

6:15-7:00 PM Facilitators only Facilitator Debriefing

7-7:30PM All Candlelighting Memorial Ceremony
7:30- 9PM Dinner
9-11 PM DJ Music and dancing

MONDAY MORNING
7:30- 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:15-10:15 Plenary 3G Panel: Where do we go from here? Looking to the future
10:15-11:00 Plenary for All Closing Ceremony
12:00-4:00 Optional tour ($30) Visit the Shapell Center

Join Our Mailing List

Stay up to date on conference news and updates