The Pittsburgh second generation group, known as the Legacy of the Second Generation, has taken on a new project in its ongoing attempts to change its goals as the needs of the community and membership evolve. The group, under the leadership of Paula Riemer, a 2G, and David Teigman, a 3G, have started an ‘adopt a survivor’ program in an attempt to enhance the Speakers Bureau of the Pittsburgh Holocaust Survivors Organization and in anticipation of future needs. There are only a handful of survivors still willing and able to lecture in the hundreds of public and parochial schools who have invited them year after year to their classrooms. Many survivors have simply “burned out” from reliving their harrowing experiences too many times, while for others it has simply become too physically taxing. It is clearly time for the descendants to step up.

The project will require 2G and 3G participants and other volunteers to learn a survivor’s story well enough to tell it and answer questions about the Holocaust, at least as they relate to that survivor. So far, the group has met to discuss the goals, to watch a presentation of “Connect the Dots”, and to hear Teigman share his grandfather’s story. Teigman received some helpful feedback from his “audience” and is now working on a power point program to enhance any future presentations. The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh is helping with the technology and research. Paula Riemer said,“The young audiences today expect advanced technology to accompany the story.”

The rebirth of the Pittsburgh group parallels the changes going on in many groups across the country as they bring in members of the 3rd generation, many of whom did not grow up with the emotional environment that surrounded the Holocaust survivors. That detachment enables the third generation to ask the hard questions of the survivors and get straight answers. Teigman said, “I have no inhibitions with my grandfather. We have a good relationship and I can ask him anything.”

Both Riemer and Teigman would like to bring in more volunteers to the project. There are many young people moving to the region who are not easy to connect with because they are not always affiliated with synagogues and do not subscribe to the local Jewish publication. Anyone who wants more information can contact them through the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh at 412-421-1500 or by email at spatty@ujfpittsburgh.org.

Isabel Alcoff

Isabel1606@aol.com