Spring Term 2015
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance) Service
Vigil with Reading of Names begins at 4:30pm and resumes after service. Service led by Rabbi Shosh Dworsky. Guest speaker: Gerry Franks.
Gerry Franks was born in Berlin, Germany in 1921. He recalls Hitler coming into power in 1933, and he lived as a teenager under Nazi rule. Gerry experienced firsthand the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom before emigrating to Chicago in 1939.
During WWII, Gerry joined the U.S. Army, and because of his language skills was assigned as a translator to SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces) headed by General D. Eisenhower. He served first in London, and later in France and Germany. Gerry translated many of the US occupation laws into German, and served as head of a research team in Germany, interviewing highly placed German civil servants and compiling evidence for use in the Nuremberg trials.
After his discharge, Gerry came back to Chicago where he assisted in the resettlement of German Jewish refugees. He helped found a residence for survivors, The Selfhelp Home, which today accommodates 150 seniors. Gerry is featured in a new documentary film "Refuge" which covers the history of several residents of The Selfhelp Home.
Gerry has been a member of the American Jewish Committee for many years, serving as a V.P. of the Chicago organization and currently serving on the national Board of Governors. He is co-chair of “German Jewish Dialogue”, a joint effort of the German Consulate General and the AJC in Chicago. The group promotes good will while discussing problems of interest to its German as well as Jewish members.
On Yom HaShoah, he will share some of his experiences and reflections.
Sponsored by Chaplain's Office. Contact: Jan Truax, Chaplain's Office, x4003