Community Briefs: Carl Lutz Honored, HIAS PA Awards, More

Carl Lutz. Courtesy of The Mid-Atlantic – Eurasia Business Council

Resolution to Honor Holocaust Hero Carl Lutz Introduced in Senate

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey and Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) introduced a resolution April 28 to the U.S. Senate honoring Carl Lutz, a Swiss diplomat who saved more than 50,000 people — half of Budapest’s surviving Jewish population — from deportation to concentration camps during the Holocaust.

While working in Nazi-occupied Hungary, Lutz obtained permission from Nazi leadership to issue 8,000 letters of diplomatic protection. Anyone holding the protective papers was considered to be under Swiss protection and exempt from deportation. Instead of issuing the papers to 8,000 Jewish individuals, Lutz issued them to entire family units, ensuring protection for thousands more Jews.

Lutz also placed 76 buildings under Swiss diplomatic protection, where he was able to house thousands of Hungarian Jews who had lost their homes.

Lutz’s efforts marked the largest civilian rescue mission of World War II.

Lutz later worked in both Philadelphia and St. Louis as a Swiss diplomat.

“With antisemitism on the rise, we must never forget the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust and the stories of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to save others from Nazi persecution,” Casey said. “I am pleased to introduce a bipartisan resolution to honor Carl Lutz for his act of valor, which saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz concentration camp.”

Companion legislation was introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.).

HIAS Pennsylvania Announces Golden Door Awards for 2021
HIAS Pennsylvania virtually handed out its 2021 Golden Door Awards on April 28 to “those who lead the way in support of immigrants and refugees.”

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District, was cited for “her outstanding leadership in extending the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, and support for the immigrants in our community.”

The Refugee Access Center at Snyder Church in South Philadelphia was honored for “their continual support of refugees and immigrants in South Philly throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

And Lara Ali and Ali Arif, who are former HIAS PA clients, were cited for becoming “leaders in their community, working within the Philadelphia School District to make it welcoming to immigrants and refugees.”

Jewish Exponent Reporter Places First in 2021 Keystone Media Awards
Jewish Exponent reporter Sophie Panzer won first prize in the 2021 Keystone Media Awards in the diversity category.

The entry included five stories “that inform on diverse elements in the community, encourage diversity awareness and reflect an ongoing effort to cover inclusive integration of diverse populations within your community.”

Panzer’s entry included “Couple Creates Ribbon to Mourn Victims of Racism” (Sept. 10), “Original ‘SNL’ Writer Explores Comedy in Memoir” (Dec. 10), “Phillies Pitcher Helped Integrate Baseball” (May 7), “Russian‐Speaking Moishe House Goes Virtual” (April 9) and “Interfaith Couples Navigate Unusual Holiday Season” (Dec. 10).

Jewish Law Day Set for 37th Year
The 37th annual Jewish Law Day will feature former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the State of New York Court of Appeals speaking about Jewish law and the responsibility to perform pro bono service.

The virtual event will take place on May 24 at 4 p.m.

The day was originally honored in juxtaposition to the Red Mass celebrated by the Thomas More Society, but in conjunction with the Brandeis Law Society, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Board of Rabbis, the celebration was moved to Shavout, the time of revelation of the Ten Commandments.

Over the years, prominent speakers have included White House Counsel Abner Mikva; Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie S. Abella; Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Max Baer; professors Melvin I. Urovsky, Jonathan Sarna and Deborah Lipstadt; and Villanova University Professor of Law Abraham Gafni.

Courtesy of Jewish Family and Children’s Service

JFCS to Present Notecards to Holocaust Survivors to Recognize Liberation Day
In lieu of its annual Café Europa luncheon for members of its Holocaust Survivors Support Program, Jewish Family and Children’s Service will recognize Liberation Day by delivering packets of notecards on May 13.

JFCS Art Therapist and Art Studio Manager Debora King collaborated with members of the program, teenagers from its Education and Outreach Services, and members of its People Living with Disabilities Program “to create a beautiful piece of art representing the concept of liberation.”

JFCS plans to directly deliver more than 100 packets of notecards to survivors and mail an additional 400 packets to survivors in the five-county region.

“When I spoke with the Holocaust survivors, they shared images and colors they experienced on Liberation Day so many years ago,” King said. “Their common theme was experiencing tremendous grief, loss, trauma and sorrow. They shared seeing a bright light which inspired the tunnel, flashing yellow and light blue colors for salvation, warmer hues of oranges and yellows for strength, and a vision of a wounded person looking at the sky with wide arms, which I depicted as birds flying free.” l



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