Dr. Abe Lavender teaches JSI's "World Jewish Communities" course on Monday nights at the JMOF-FIU. Allan Hall, Esquire, an attorney from Miami Beach, and his wife, Lori Gold, also an attorney, are both students in Dr. Lavender's class. On Monday March 17, Dr. Lavender and Mr. Hall presented on the Jews of Poland.
Dr. Lavender started Monday's presentation with a relatively short historical overview lecture, and some handouts, of Jewish life in Poland from around 1200 until today, including information on the major role Polish Jews have played in world Jewish life. But, by Dr. Lavender's own design, most of the class was devoted to Allan Hall's outstanding presentation.
Mr. Hall was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1935, 5 years after the German army conquered Poland on September 1, 1939. He, his parents, and (later) little brother successfully hid from the Nazis, much of the time in the Warsaw Ghetto, and sometimes "right under the eyes of the Nazis" until the end of the war. All four of them survived (a number of other relatives were killed or died in concentration camps), and moved to New York after the war. Mr. Hall told a very disturbing story, frequently step by step, in detail describing a number of very close calls with the Germans. The family survived several times just by simple luck, or with help from a Polish non-Jew who simply "looked the other way for 2 minutes" (on purpose and out of the goodness of his heart, and at the possible risk of his own life). Sometimes a "little donation" helped a guard or a soldier "look away" for a few minutes, just enough time for the Hall (then Horowitz) family to escape. It was a very moving and informative story of day-to-day survival in Poland during Nazi domination.
Professor Abe Lavender
Mr. Allan Hall