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Date: April 7, 2005
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 301-251-7970; Steve Simon, 301-251-7952

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Montgomery College to Pay Tribute to Local Holocaust Survivors
Commemoration Event Features “Portraits of Life” Photography Exhibit, April 21

PHOTO EDITORS: For high-resolution images to accompany this news release, click on this link

Montgomery College will hold its annual Holocaust Commemoration on Thursday, April 21, in the Theatre Arts Arena, located in the Theatre Arts Building on the Rockville Campus, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Md.  This year, the Holocaust Commemoration pays tribute to the Holocaust survivors who live in and around Montgomery County, Md.  Its focal point is a photography exhibit, entitled “Portraits of Life,” which tells the stories of these remarkable men and women.

The Holocaust Commemoration will begin at 6:45 p.m. with a name reading ceremony.  The formal program will begin at 7 p.m. with music by Montgomery College’s World Music Ensemble.  Opening remarks will be given by Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, followed by a candle lighting ceremony.  

As part of the program, Montgomery College Professors Jon Goell and Brian Jones, former Montgomery College students John Hoover and Susan Maldon Stregack, and Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin will discuss their participation in the exhibit “Portraits of Life.”  Goell and Jones acted as project leaders and chief photographers of the exhibit, photographing and interviewing local Holocaust survivors in their homes.  The professors were assisted by Montgomery College adjunct faculty member Rollin Fraser, students, and former students, who acted as photo assistants, interviewers, and photographers.  Jane Knaus, the College’s creative services director, designed the exhibit and coordinated its production.

More than 30 Holocaust survivors have been photographed for “Portraits of Life,” creating a lasting legacy of their lives and their stories of survival.  The historic value of the College's preservation effort is especially relevant given the recent death of one of the featured Holocaust survivors, Peter Masters.  The resulting black and white photograph of Masters and the photographs of other survivors will be shown during the Holocaust Commemoration. 

“While we remember those who died in the Holocaust, we also celebrate the lives of those who survived,” remarked Judy Gaines, director of the College’s Paul Peck Humanities Institute, which organized and sponsored the commemoration and exhibit. “We are especially proud to recognize the Holocaust survivors who moved in and around Montgomery County. They are your neighbors—fellow community members. You pass them in the grocery store or at the post office—never would you imagine the unspeakable horror they endured.”

Born in Shauliai, Lithuania, Holocaust Commemoration speaker Nesse Godin was just 13 years old when the Germans occupied her hometown.  Two months later, she was forced into the ghetto with her family.  By 1944, Godin was taken to the Stutthof concentration camp and eventually sent to four labor camps.  She survived those and a death march before being liberated by the Soviet Army.

Godin moved to the United States, after five years in a displaced persons camp in Germany.  Godin says, “My husband and I raised three wonderful children and dedicated our lives to teach what hatred can do.  I took my pain and suffering and anger and chose to teach what happened during the Holocaust. I hope that my sharing memories will teach everyone to make a better world for all the people of the world.”

Currently, Godin is co-president of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Friends of Greater Washington.  She serves on the Board of the Jewish Community Council and the United Jewish Appeal Federation.  For her service to the community and sharing her personal story of the Holocaust, Godin has received many awards and honors, such as the Elie Wiesel Holocaust Remembrance Medal and the “Unsung Heroine” honor from the Maryland Commission on Women.  At a previous Montgomery College Holocaust Commemoration, Godin was presented with an honorary degree from the College.

The “Portraits of Life” photography exhibit will be on display at Montgomery College’s Communication Arts Technologies (CAT) Gallery.  It will officially open at the Holocaust Commemoration event and will remain on display through the end of April.  The CAT Gallery is located on the first floor of Montgomery College’s Technology Center in Room 104, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Md.  Gallery hours are Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. 

After the exhibit completes its run at Montgomery College, “Portraits of Life” will travel to other venues in the area, including Montgomery County’s Executive Office Building this fall. 

The Holocaust Commemoration is free and open to the public.  It is a joint program sponsored by the College’s Paul Peck Humanities Institute, the Communication Arts Technologies Department, and the Arts Institute, and funded in part by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.    

For more information about the Holocaust Commemoration, please call the Paul Peck Humanities Institute at 301-251-7417, log on to or visit and click on Calendar. 

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md.  The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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