Each April 19th, the Congress for Jewish Culture, along with Friends of the Bund, Jewish Labor Committee and Workers Circle, has organized a gathering of musicians, academics, and survivors and their families at the stone in the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Plaza in Riverside Park. This annual event marked the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the single greatest instance of Jewish armed resistance to the Holocaust, with an academy remembering the victims and fighters of history’s greatest crime.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they did not gather there for the first time in living memory, but instead held their event online. Of course, they hope and pray that next year they will all once again be able to convene at Der Shteyn (the stone) in Riverside Park. This year, they will host the April 19th event on the Congress for Jewish Culture YouTube channel and through www.congressforjewishculture.org/videos. An impressive array of artists has been assembled to remember the victims of the Nazi war on European Jewry and commemorate their resistance.
This year marks the 78th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. 13,000 Jews were killed during the revolt (some 6,000 among them were burnt alive or died from smoke inhalation). Of the remaining 50,000 residents, almost all were captured and shipped to concentration camps or killing centers. The upcoming program, including music and readings, will feature Rivka Augenfeld (translator & Yiddish coach for “YidLife Crisis,” Montreal), Hinde Ena Burstin (Australian Yiddish-English writer and translator, Melbourne), Maida Feingold (international singer-guitarist), Annette Harchik (Editor of Response: A Contemporary Jewish Review),Feygele Jacobs (Yiddish singer), Daniel Kahn (Perchik in the hit Yiddish language revival of Fiddler on the Roof, currently residing in Hamburg), Samuel Kassow (renowned historian & author of Who Will Write Our History?),Marcel Kshensky (educator & son of Holocaust survivors), Lili Kshensky Baxter (Director Emeritus of the Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education at Atlanta’s Breman Museum), Shura Lipovsky (ACDiY Award-winning singer, Amsterdam), Shifee Losacco (Yiddish singer & fundraiser), Mir Kumen On Yiddish Choir of the Jewish Labour Bund Melbourne, David Rosenberg (editor of Jewish Socialist Magazine, London), Deborah Strauss (longtime member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band), and the Workers Circle Shule students. Founded in 1948, the Congress for Jewish Culture (Executive Director, Shane Baker) is a secular organization based in New York City dedicated to its longstanding commitment to enriching Yiddish culture worldwide. They are joined as organizers for the virtual ceremony by Friends of the Bund, Jewish Labor Committee, Workers Circle, the California Institute for Yiddish Culture & Language, Montreal Worker’s Circle, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. This notably significant annual event is set for Monday, April 19 at 1 pm EST.