Stockton University Holocaust project shines light on survivors’ contributions to New Jersey
Stockton University’s Holocaust resource center is hoping to capture the stories of survivors before they are all gone. The new project is an effort to showcase Holocaust survivors’ contributions to South Jersey.
Researchers at the Sarah and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center are in the midst of a several-yearslong project compiling photos, video interview and documents into a digital exhibit on Holocaust survivors in southern New Jersey.
“We’ve currently identified some 260-plus and we expect that that number is going to continue to grow by the time the project is complete. We may have upwards of 500 Holocaust survivors,” says Stockton University Association Professor Michael Hayse.
Those working on the project says that they have identified several chicken farms in New Jersey that were once owned and operated by Holocaust survivors
“Many of the survivors ended up going to place like New York and they worked in businesses, in factories, but they couldn’t sustain those kinds of jobs because they didn’t know the languages and didn’t have the resources,” says Morgan Everman with the Resource Center. “So, when they heard about the chicken farming business in South Jersey, they came in large masses.”
"There's a few other places in the United States where this was possible and somewhat common but because it's a South Jersey story I think it's one of the things that we really want to highlight,” says Hayse.
The team is asking the community for help identifying more survivors from Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties.
“In the march of time, we’re losing survivors quickly [due to age],” says Hayse.
Their hope is to educate future generations through first-hand accounts. They say that these accounts are invaluable.
“Those individual stories are compelling. The survivors have gone through so much trauma, almost always, and they’ve overcome it. They carry it with them and that’s something I think many of us are both fascinated by and we can relate to hear those individual stories,” says Hayse.
The Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center is also looking to speak with children and grandchildren of holocaust survivors from South Jersey as well. Anyone with information can contact Gail Rosenthal at the Holocaust Center at 609 652-4699 or email email@example.com.