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In February of 2005, Daniel Brooks met with other grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to talk about their shared familial history. The meeting became a jumping off point for a new community group, called 3G. “After looking, I realized that 3G groups and/or initiatives didn’t exist,” says Brooks. He wanted a forum in which to discuss “what our family history meant to us, how this connection influenced our identity as Jews, and also how it influenced our politics, world view, etc.” Since Brooks’ initiative, the community has grown rapidly. Today, 3G in New York has a mailing list of six hundred and a steering committee of ten. It is a registered non-profit organization, and runs a variety of events such as lectures, film screenings, wine tastings, and Shabbat dinners, where attendance can range from ten to one hundred young people. “We’ve already fostered a sense of community among our members,” says Brooks. Still, the group is looking to expand even further in membership and mission. To that end, 3G New York plans to invite more survivors to speak to the group and to host inherited trauma. “The work that 3GH aims to do is to encourage further discussions on the subject of intergenerational transmission and invite ourselves to process our personal, cultural Jewish identities, of trauma. “Many of us feel that although Holocaust education is to talk about what was once silent—the silent scars.” standardized,” says Brooks, “[people] don’t have opportunities to As the last living link to the Holocaust begins to deal with discuss with others like us the meaning of the Holocaust, how it’s issues of trauma and community, it is clear that the effects of the viewed in the mainstream, and what it means to us.” Holocaust extend beyond its survivors. At GesherCity’s salon, The Third Generation community has had wider success attendees found that the conversations were tinged with a certain online. On Facebook, Aaron Biterman started the “Grandchildren indescribable weightiness; we felt guilty about intermarriage because of Holocaust Survivors” networking group. The online community of the Holocaust and we felt pressure to succeed because of the boasts nearly five hundred members and seven virtual administrators Holocaust. But there was solace in talking to each other. We felt from as many cities. bound by a collective sense that we were bonding because of an event “I would like to see more 3G groups established in local areas, we didn’t experience ourselves, and an inherited weight we could which is why I created this group,” says Biterman. “It’s very important never really negotiate or understand. Reclaiming this event and that 3Gs connect to each other…our families are a very significant terming it “Third Generation” goes beyond the righteous demand piece of history’s puzzle.” to preserve the memory of the Shoah; it is about recognizing that The Third Generation has also been fodder for new psychological just like the genes we inherit, whether we want them or not, we are research. After interviewing over twenty individuals on their Third bound to the memories of our family. Generation identities for a research paper towards her psychology degree, Natalie Krasnostein, an Australian native, took the project further with a Chloe Safier lives and works in Boston, creating social justice opportunities for six-week workshop involving ten descendants. The workshop, conducted Jewish young adults through GesherCity. Her grandparents are survivors, and her with a grant from the Melbourne Holocaust Museum, became known mom, born in the displaced persons camp of Bergen-Belsen, is now a Holocaust as 3GH (an acronym for “Third Generation Holocaust”) and produced oral historian and educator. a documentary titled Somewhere Inside of Us. “It was a powerful, profound and deeply successful process,” says Krasnostein, “in that it allowed us [descendants] to confront PresenTense Magazine is designed by Talina Design! who we were.” The success of the workshop is spreading. This December, Krasnostein will be sponsored by the Wiener Library to bring the 3GH workshop to London. She is also in conversation with the group created by Brooks to raise funds for a March workshop. “We hope to create a global network, to encourage a deep and honest ’working through’ of intergenerational effects of Holocaust trauma,” says Krasnostein. logos Stressing the importance of both communal ads and individual needs to reconcile a devastating family history, the workshop postcards serves as a powerful tool to collectively brochures 847.962.0425 work through participant issues related to



issue four 2008


PresenTense Issue 4  

PresenTense 4 brings Social back

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