Ambassador John L. Withers II remembers Kristallnacht
Date: Sunday, November 8
Join the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), ADL’s Black-Jewish Alliance, American Jewish Committee (AJC), the African American History Museum in Philadelphia, Council for Relationships, Delaware Valley Veterans Consortium, and the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation for an event with Ambassador John L. Withers II to mark both the anniversary of Kristallnacht and Veteran’s Day. In his presentation, Ambassador Withers II will discuss his book, Balm in Gilead: A Story from the War, which presents a tale that is as moving as it is timely.
In May 1945, as World War II ended, an all-black U.S. Army truck company, including the author’s father, Lieutenant John L. Withers of Greensboro, North Carolina, rushed emergency supplies to an unknown German town. Long victims of harsh racial abuse, the soldiers were nonetheless shocked at the horrors they witnessed when the “town” turned out to be the Dachau concentration camp. They were further shocked, days later, when two destitute young Jews, former Dachau inmates, appeared at their encampment and pleaded for help. Housing non-military personnel was strictly forbidden, but the soldiers, with their Lieutenant’s endorsement, sheltered the boys nevertheless.
Please join us to hear the story of Lieutenant John L. Withers in World War II and to reflect on what this story means today. As part of the program, we will also hear two award-winning poems from the JCRC Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition which encourages all students grades 7-12 throughout the Greater Philadelphia area to learn about and respond to the Holocaust by means of creative expression.Follow us on Facebook