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News Release

Date: March 31, 2008
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970; Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Montgomery College Holds Holocaust Commemoration Ceremony
Survivors to Share Stories, Students to Perform Music by Survivors at April 16 Event

The Paul Peck Humanities Institute at Montgomery College invites the community to its annual Holocaust Commemoration on Wednesday, April 16 from 6:30–8:30 p.m., in the Theatre Arts Arena on the College’s Rockville Campus, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Md. The commemoration is free and open to the public.

The evening will begin with the reading of narratives written by and about real people who experienced Nazi persecution. There will also be a candle lighting ceremony in which leading members of the three Montgomery County survivor groups—Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Friends of Greater Washington, Child Survivors, and Kindertransport—will participate. In addition, Professor Dawn Avery and students from the World Music Ensemble will perform music composed by survivors while they were imprisoned at Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.

The event will pay tribute to the Holocaust's victims as well as the survivors. The event will feature two Montgomery County survivors, Nesse Godin and Halina Peabody, who have agreed to share their stories. In addition, Esther Finder, a daughter of two Holocaust survivors, and Ilan Fulop, a grandson of survivors, will talk briefly about their connection to the Holocaust.

Born in Lithuania, Nesse Godin survived a ghetto concentration camp, four labor camps and a death march during Nazi occupation. She dedicated her adult life to sharing memories of that time with audiences at schools, churches, synagogues, civic groups and the military. Since 1981, Godin has volunteered for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Museum’s Council.

Godin and her husband moved to the United States in 1950 and settled in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. They are proud of their son, two daughters, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Halina Peabody was living in Zaleszczyki, Poland when Russians invaded in 1939. Before the invasion, her father had crossed over to Romania with other refugees. When he tried to return to Poland, he was caught by the Russians, accused of being a spy, sentenced to twenty years hard labor and shipped off to Siberia. The Germans entered Poland one year later.

Peabody, her mother and sister bought new identities and moved to Jaroslaw, Poland, where they lived as Catholics and her mother worked in a German military camp kitchen. They eventually learned that their father was alive in Palestine, so the Jewish Agency arranged for them to leave Poland. The family settled in London, England, which Peabody represented in the 1953 and 1957 Maccabiah Games in table tennis. She later settled in Israel, until her immigration to the United States on November 6, 1968.

Esther Finder is the daughter of two Holocaust survivors from Poland who survived Auschwitz. President of The Generation After, Finder is one of the founders of Generations of the Shoah International (GSI) and sits on the commission that is creating a Holocaust Center in the state of Maryland. She teaches psychology at Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus.

Born and raised in Rockville, Md., Ilan Fulop is now 24 years old and extremely proud to be a part of the third generation of Holocaust survivors and victims. While several of Fulop’s family members were murdered during the Holocaust, he has had the privilege of hearing firsthand accounts of that time from his great-grandmother and two grandmothers who lived in Hungary.

For more information about the Holocaust Commemoration and other events organized by the Paul Peck Humanities Institute, call 240-567-7417 or visit

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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