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Just the Human Thing to Do: Dutch People Who Rescued People During World War II
A Lecture by Mark Klempner

Jewish Community Center of Schenectady
Niskayuna, NY
October 30, 2001

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Just the Human Thing to Do:
Dutch People Who Rescued People During World War II

A Lecture by Mark Klempner
  • October 30, 2001
    Jewish Community Center of Schenectady
    2565 Balltown Road
    Niskayuna
The New York Folklore Society, in cooperation with the Jewish Community Center of Schenectady and Holocaust Survivors and Friends Education Center, presented a lecture by oral historian and folklorist, Mark Klempner, entitled, “Just the Human Thing to Do: Dutch People Who Rescued Jews During World War II.” The free lecture took place at the Jewish Community Center of Schenectady, 2565 Balltown Road, Schenectady on October 30, 2001 at 7:00 p.m. The lecture was sign language interpreted for the hearing impaired.

Mark Klempner, Niskayuna native, is an oral historian and folklorist who has conducted many interviews with Dutch citizens who rescued Jews during World War II. The son of a Holocaust survivor, Klempner spent several decades as a musician before pursuing his current interest in the humanities. In 1997, he graduated from Cornell University with an A.B. in English. He continued his studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed a master’s degree in folklore in May 2000. His academic honors include a J. William Fulbright Fellowship, The Robinson-Appel Humanitarian Award, and the F. Conger Wood Fellowship. His latter award, presented by the Institute for European Studies at Cornell University, enabled him to conduct the research on which his presentation is based.


klempner
Mark Klempner is shown here with rescuers Evert, left, and Fenna Siemer in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Mark Klempner has conducted over one hundred hours of interviews with Dutch citizens who rescued Jews during World War II. His research has been supported by the Institute for European Studies at Cornell University, Yad Vashem, and the Israeli Embassy in the Hague. Currently, he is finishing a book-length manuscript which provides an historical account based on his interviews with rescuers. Starting with biographical information which sheds light on the rescuers’ formative years, Mark Klempner conveys the stories which rescuers entrusted to him regarding their efforts to save Jews during the war. Those hearing him speak about his work have said the following: “I was moved and inspired. He made me realize the importance of going the extra mile for another. [He] Makes us search for bravery and goodness within ourselves.”

The lecture was co-sponsored by the Holocaust Survivors and Friends Education Center, and the Schenectady Jewish Community Center. This lecture was a program of State Humanities Month, a program of the New York Council for the Humanities.

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