Meeting Closing Remarks
You might wonder why I was chosen to give the closing remarks at tonight’s program. My name is Connie Packman and I am not a child of a Holocaust Survivor. To my knowledge I lost no one in my family in the Holocaust. I was only 8 years old when the US entered into the 2nd world war and have very little recollection of the following 4 years and there was little in the history books during my educational years.
Yet I stand before you as a friend of NEXT GENERATIONS and as their treasurer and VP of fund raising. Why then was I chosen to close this educational evening. Why?
It’s called conscience.
13 Years ago right after the State of Florida mandated Holocaust education from k to 12, a group of women asked me to help organize an organization that would raise funds to train teachers to teach their students about the Holocaust. At that time I was living the life of fun and games that most live when they move to Florida and was not the least bit interested in getting involved in a charity organization. I felt I did that, done that and I liked my life the way it was. But again, what entered into it. Conscience!
My husband and I raised our grandson from the time he was 8 until he was ready to go to college. He went to Spanish River High and though we often helped him with his homework, we never questioned him about his curriculum..
When this group of women called me to help start their organization, I initially said no way, but again my conscience got in the way.
So I called my grandson who was at college at the time and asked him what he learned in high school about the Holocaust. His response was MOM-MOM- nothing. We learned about the 2nd world war, but nothing about the extermination of 6 million Jews. My first lesson about the Holocaust was in my 2nd semester at Penn State when I then realized the horrific of the war.
Once again, my conscience got to me. I believe that God puts us on earth with love and compassion, but the rest is up to us as individuals to help make this world a better place. It is then in our hands. So from that moment, 13 years ago I became obsessive compulsive to make sure that the lessons of the Holocaust will never be forgotten. And I have worked around the clock for all these years to make sure that these lessons will be heard.
But now it is 13 years later and so many of my survivor friends have left us. Think where we will be 13 years from now. So where do we go then?
Again, my conscience tells me there is only one place to go. To the children and grandchildren and heirs of Holocaust survivors to keep the message Alive. It is absolutely imperative to support the important role NEXT GENERATIONS must play in the years to come. For without them, who else? This is not an easy role for this generation. They were raised differently than most of us. Many became the mothers and their parents became the children. Many survivors could not share their painful stories with their children and only now, as adults are NEXT GENERATIONS sorting out the reasons.
In the horrifying world of the Holocaust, where evil took hold of governments and genocide became commonplace, as you witnessed in tonight’s film, courageous non- Jews risked their lives to save Jewish children and their families. These individuals knew they could pay the highest price of all--- but they knew they would pay an even bigger price, ignoring their conscience, so they did what they had to do.
Humanity from all corners of the universe continue to suffer horrific crimes motivated by ethnic, religious and racial bias. We teach our children the lessons of the Holocaust with the hope that the world will respond differently to these cries of help, but it seems that Never Again happens again and again and again.
So now in closing I want to ask all of you to listen to your conscience. You can support NEXT GENERATIONS by joining and becoming a friend of NG. Our dreams lie within our children and each of you can make a difference. Albert Einstein said “ The world is too dangerous to live in- not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen.”
I thank our friends of Temple Beth-El Sisterhood for partnering with NG tonight and especially want to thank my beautiful friend (inside and out) Asa Loof for telling her extraordinary story of the brave people of Scandinavia and to the Bick Family for being here tonight and allowing us to honor this extraordinary woman who I unfortunately knew only a short time but did know first hand the values she instilled in not only her family but in all others who knew her.
Thank you for sharing this evening,
NEXT GENERATIONS, Treasurer