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QCC seder honors modern survivors

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Traditionally, the book detailing the Passover story, called a Haggadah, relates how the Jews escaped slavery under ancient Egypt's pharaoh.But the story at the center's April 13 seder will be read from "A Survivor's Haggadah," a text created by a U.S. Army chaplain and first published by Brandeis University in 2001. The book was used by Holocaust survivors while they were in a displaced persons camp in Munich shortly after they were liberated."We took excerpts from that book that we felt were most meaningful to the survivors of Queens," said Jaime Brody, assistant director of the Holocaust Resource Center. "The exodus from Egypt is now the exodus from Germany" in the Holocaust center's seder, she said. "Instead of enslavement to Pharaoh, it's enslavement to Hitler."Now in its third year, the Holocaust Resource Center's seder was conceived by Brody and Dr. Arthur Flug, the center's director, who envisioned doing something special during Passover to pay tribute to Holocaust survivors."It's a moving, emotional seder," Flug said. "This would be a great historical lesson. It's a very powerful thing. It brings out the point that freedom is not a choice. There's a cost for it."Brody said the seder, in which 150 Holocaust survivors are expected to attend, is designed to help younger people understand the Holocaust."We're losing this primary generation of people, so we need to pass on these stories and legacies," Brody said.More than 225 people signed up for the seder, which Flug said "says a great deal about people's commitment to the Holocaust and the work we do here."Steven Berger, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor now living in Little Neck, commended Queensborough for recognizing the Holocaust during the seder."It's very nice because not only are they having the regular seder but they're also remembering the Holocaust," Berger said.He said he has a personal connection to Mikls Adler, an artist who designed elaborate woodcuts for the pages of "A Survivor's Haggaddah.""He was my art teacher and my former homeroom teacher in my class at the Debrecen Jewish Gymnasium," Berger said, referring to his high school in Hungary. Berger was a consultant for "A Survivor's Haggadah" when it was originally published by Brandeis seven years ago. He said he cleared up historical facts for the book, such as that Jews and "Nazi murderers" were originally placed in the same displacement camps after the war. It was only until Jews protested that they had their own camps, Berger said.Although he will not be participating in the seder, Berger said his family mentions the Holocaust during Passover."We always include part of the Holocaust," he said.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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