THE HISTORY OF NEXT GENERATIONS
My name is Nancy Dershaw and I am a child of two Holocaust Survivors. I am also the Founder and President Emeritus of NEXT GENERATIONS, an organization located in South Florida with global outreach. This organization evolved through the joint efforts of children and grandchildren of our beloved Holocaust Survivors.
As a child of Holocaust survivors, my life was different growing up. My parents and older sister left Europe in 1951 and came to America. I was born two years later in Philadelphia, Pa. My parents could not read, write or speak the language, but with hard work, determination and support of their family, they built a successful business. My mother and father taught us never to give up and never forget where we came from. In 1995, I was overwhelmed with grief when my father passed away. He was my inner core, my hero, and I realized in order to feel whole again, I needed to embark on a worthy journey, one that my father would be proud of.
I wanted to fully understand and embrace my roots and the roots of my parents. I wanted to understand how and why they lived their life with such inner strength. I decided to give up my successful business and go back to school. I received my Master’s Degree in Holocaust and Genocide studies.
With my increased knowledge of the Holocaust, I, like many other children of Holocaust survivors, faced the fear that when our parents are gone, so too will their stories. No longer will we be able to hear their accounts of what it was like to survive during the most horrific time in history. It was also clear to me that I had to be a champion for those who did not survive, those that had no voice. I had to be their messenger, their storyteller, their hero.
After placing a small ad in the newspaper, I received responses from other children of Holocaust survivors, all with the same passion and commitment to continue their parent’s legacy as mine. I formed NEXT GENERATIONS over 17 years ago with the vision and dedication of these individuals, many of whom are still active in our organization today.
The mission of the organization has always remained the same. To preserve the memories and stories of survival told by our parents, to educate future generations with the hope that lessons learned from the Holocaust can initiate an awareness of the destructive force of hatred. Our goal is to help future generations understand the dangers that can befall all of us if we sit by and allow hatred and bigotry to go unchecked. No one can be exempt from moral responsibility.
Our members devoted time, love and energy to make NEXT GENERATIONS what it is today. We have established ourselves as a respected organization, implementing Holocaust education and awareness in educational, civic and religious institutions. We are an organization that has heard the cries of the victims of the Holocaust, vowed never to forget, and promised our parents that the world would be a better and safer place for our children.
Nancy Dershaw, Founder and President Emeritus NEXT GENERATIONS
We have developed and expanded on the following programs. Please click on the following links to learn more about our inspirational and educational projects:
- The Nancy Dershaw Grant for Holocaust Survivors in Need
- The Oral Testimony Project
- The Speakers Bureau
- The GenZ Project
NEXT GENERATIONS is a 501(c)(3) organization of children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and all those who are committed to educate future generations by preserving the memories of the past, carrying forward the message into the future, and keeping the voices alive.