Dec 16, 2007
On Wednesday night at HUC on W 4th Street, Dr. Rochelle Saidel of Remember The Women Institute, spoke about Gemma La Guardia Gluck and presented a slide show. This was an excellent presentation by a true scholar and a warm person. Rochelle spoke about Gemma’s moving and engrossing story in particular, and furthering the inclusion of women in history, and the question of including women’s personal stories. Gemma’s story begins in NYC, includes the “wild west”, Europe and America before WWII, internment by the Nazis as a hostage in a concentration camp, survival and Gemma’s return to NYC. Very moving.
The photo is Rochelle at the HUC exhibit with Gemma’s grandchildren.
Afterwards, we crossed the street and went to Dojo’s Restaurant, ringed in sparkly seasonal decorations, and it was filled wall-to-wall with very, very young NYU students, at least 85% of whom were women. The future history of tomorrow.
It brought to mind what my very beloved 14 year old niece said about the coming presidential election: I wish I could vote for Hillary. It would mean so much to have a woman elected President. It represents the limitless possibilty of the future to her.
It is important to be reminded of how important and influential role models are, and of how much these role models are needed. We need the role models of the past and of the present.
Dec 9, 2007
The very compelling memoir of Gemma La Guardia Gluck, the sister of the truly beloved mayor of New York City, Fiorello La Guardia, is a stunning story which starts in New york City’s Greenwich Village, moves to the “wild west” of the Dakotas, includes the American midwest, Italy, Hungary, and Gemma’s internment in Ravensbruck concentration camp as a political hostage by the Nazis while Fiorello was mayor, and Gemma’s survival and return to New York City.
Gemma’s story is the focus of an exhibit at Hebrew Union College on West 4th Street, a fitting location since it is close by to where Gemma’s story begins. On Decemeber 12, there will be a program and reception.
The program features “a conversation and book signing with Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, editor of Gemma La Guardia Gluck’s memoir. She will discuss La Guardia family history and Jewish roots, as well as Gemma’s experiences during the Holocaust in Hungary and Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp, and as a displaced person in war-torn Berlin.”
Gemma’s memoir opens a window of insight about how we can be lulled by our routine of daily life and the hope that unpleasant times could just pass us by, that we might not recognize danger at our doorstep. It is clear example of a woman in history whose story could be overlooked and buried, which would be a sad loss.
Many thanks to Rochelle for not letting this happen to Gemma’s story. See you on December 12 at HUC.