Re­think­ing ‘sur­vivors’

The Canadian Jewish News (Toronto) - - Letters To The Editor -

In Novem­ber, as part of Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tion Week, the Sarah and Chaim Neu­berger Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre pre­sented a sym­po­sium for chil­dren of Holo­caust sur­vivors en­ti­tled Di­a­logue for De­scen­dants.

The CJN fea­tured a won­der­ful cover story on the is­sues sur­round­ing chil­dren of Holo­caust sur­vivors. Un­for­tu­nately, The CJN used the head­line, “Un­der­stand­ing sec­ond gen­er­a­tion sur­vivors,” (Dec. 15). It was this head­line that Eve­lyn Tauben re­ferred to in her col­umn, “Stop call­ing your­self sur­vivors,” (Jan. 12).

To clar­ify, chil­dren of Holo­caust sur­vivors do not call them­selves “sec­ond gen­er­a­tion sur­vivors.” To do so would not only be in­cor­rect, it would be of­fen­sive and in­sult­ing to our Holo­caust sur­vivor par­ents.

We un­der­stand that Tauben may not pre­fer the use of the terms 2G and 3G (sec­ond and third gen­er­a­tion) to re­fer to the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of Holo­caust sur­vivors. How­ever, the chil­dren of Holo­caust sur­vivors adopted this us­age many years ago as a way to iden­tify with each other and gain strength from shared ex­pe­ri­ences. It is not a mark of vic­tim­hood, as Tauben re­ports, it is a mark of tri­umph over tragedy.

Mar­i­lyn Sin­clair, Dori Ek­stein, co-chairs, Di­a­logue for De­scen­dants Com­mit­tee Thorn­hill, Ont.

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