Upcoming & Recent Events


June 8-11, 2024 Annual Conference of Association of Holocaust Organizations, held in NYC, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and at

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
Holocaust scholars, worldwide, gather for this annual conference, detailing new research, and new perspectives on historical data.

On Monday June 10, Ann Weiss will present current research on the Ponary Massacre, in which the Nazis murdered up to 100,000 innocent people: 70,000 LithuanianJews, 8,000 Russians and 1500-2000 Poles.
Weiss’ lecture will take place at YIVO Center for Jewish Research, NYC.

May 22, 2024—Super Nova Music Festival Exhibit, 35 Wall Street, NYC

[Please see May 2024 Update for more details of this heartbreaking and utterly unforgettable exhibit]

May 7, 2024— Deborah Dwork, keynote at American Jewish Committee —Pyramid Club, Philadelphia, PA

While Deborah’s early research was on Children’s Play during the Holocaust (we met decades ago when we were both presenting lectures at the same Holocaust conference), she has also written extensively on Auschwitz. However, we know each other best because of the many months my traveling photo exhibit, The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau, was mounted at Clark University. (Note; Clark had first Ph.D. Holocaust program in the U.S. and Deborah was the founding director of that degree program and of that Holocaust Center.

AJC afforded a wonderful reunion with a scholar I so deeply respect and an individual, that I so personally like very much.

Week of May 5, 2024 Yom Hashoah, Day of Remembrance—

In light of the October 7th Hamas attack, every commemoration I attended this week, both by zoom and in person (Jerusalem, DC, Philadelphia, NYC) referenced the tragic events of October 7, and both drew comparisons as well as emphasized contrasts. This is NOT the Holocaust. Of course, always mentioned is the fact that the murder of 1200 innocent people, together with the kidnapping of over 300 more hostages (many of whom have since been confirmed dead) is the highest number of Jews killed in a single day since the Holocaust.

March 14, 2024 —Boston premier of exhibit Auschwitz: Not Long Ago, Not Far Away/ Carnegie Hall concert & Backenroth Family Reunion, NYC

Although the monumental Auschwitz exhibit, in which my photos are powerfully exhibited, premiered on March 14th in Boston, I could not attend this premiere (as I have attended every other Auschwitz exhibit premiere) because an astounding event took place on the very same evening: a Carnegie Hall performance of my Israeli composer cousin’s new symphony, Jacob’s Dream. Baruch Berliner, and his wife Ruhama, came to the United States for the American tour, which included Carnegie Hall.

It was triumphant evening of music and celebration. Together with the concert, we organized a reunion of every American Backenroth cousin who could join us on March 14 in NYC. For many, it was the first time they had seen each other in decades—and for others, it was the first time, they even met! Since we are all children of survivors, the Holocaust was worn as a veil to the evening, but the dominant emotion was joy—not tears.

January 7-9, 2024—Winter Seminar, AHO. Washington, DC.

In addition to highlighting the newest research in the Holocaust field, the Association of Holocaust Organization semi annual meeting offers opportunities—both formal and informal —to discuss issues and share reflections with colleagues. In addition to sharing research findings, this seminar featured a ‘field trip’ to the massive Maryland location where all the artifacts not currently on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are being stored, repaired, catalogued and rotated.

Ann Weiss presents: As the last speaker of the Seminar, I shared very personal experiences from my December 2023 trip to Israel, highlighting what my daughter’s community is doing to help the displaced families who escaped Hamas on October 7th. I described both the trauma that is felt by virtually everyone (young and old, including my little grandchildren), as well as the remarkable resilience of the nation, as everyone tries to help. The divisions of left and right, secular and religious, old and young seem to have disappeared in this time of fighting for the actual survival of Israel.

It was very gratifying to have so many Holocaust scholars, museum directors, friends and colleagues, at the end of my talk, press money into my hand, in order to help the displaced families in this community.

June 9-14, 2023 — Annual Conference of AHO in Dallas, TX

The annual conference of the Association of Holocaust Organizations is being held in Dallas, Texas. This is an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues from all over the world (Association of Holocaust Organizations is the largest Holocaust organization in the world), as well as attend sessions featuring the latest research in the field.

May 21, 2023 — Drexel University, Golden Dragon Award, Philadelphia, PA

On this Sunday, in the historic Main Building of Drexel University, a special award ceremony was held, honoring a handful of individuals who had donated buildings, initiated mentoring and other creative programs for Drexel students, and a host of other awards. Ann Weiss was awarded the Golden Dragon award, given to the alumni of 50 years, who has done the most to benefit society. It was a great honor, and a most beautiful ceremony, in which President John Fry greeted the honorees and presented the Grand Dragon award, which was a beautiful crystal bowl from Tiffany’s.

May 12, 2023 — Faculty of Bernard Zell School in Chicago, IL

Because I had been Scholar in Residence last year at this school, I met with Dr. Jeff Ellison, Head of the History Department, and Gilli Sherman, Head of the Art Department, to discuss current projects that are underway, and upcoming projects that we can do together.

May 2, 2023 — AJC and Elisha Wiesel, Philadelphia, PA

Since his father, Elie Wiesel of blessed memory, wrote the epigraph to my book, (The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau), it was my honor to present an inscribed copy of the book to his son, Elisha, at the annual luncheon of American Jewish Committee (with the help of David Smith, Esquire, who is on the board of Jewish Publication Society).

April 18-24, 2023 Yom Hashoah, world-wide commemorations

Because of the pandemic, many Yom Hashoah commemorations were held on Zoom. Therefore, I was able to attend ceremonies and lectures in Warsaw, Poland, at the site of Mila 18 in the Warsaw Ghetto, in Jerusalem, Israel at Yad Vashem, in Vienna, Austria, organized by Centropa, the US National Commemoration in the rotunda of the US Capital in Washington, DC. In addition, I was able to attend, in person, several local Yom Hashoah services. To say that I was ‘Yom Hashoahed out’ was an understatement, having attending 8 commemorations, worldwide!

March 22-24, 2023 — Reagan Presidential Library, California

Premiere of “Auschwitz: Not Long Ago, Not Far Away” Exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Because photos from our book, The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau, are included in this
monumental exhibition, I was invited to attend the premiere. Not only did I reconnect with the chief curator of the exhibition, Robert Jan van Pelt, who resides in Canada, and Luis Ferreiro, head of Musealia (the organization that commissioned the exhibit), who resides in Spain and Piotr Cywinski, Director of the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, but I had a warm reunion with Art Paikowsky of Arizona. It was because I was invited to participate on Art’s original trip to Poland in October 1986, one of the first to Eastern Europe, that I got lost in a closed (to the public) Auschwitz. During this experience, I found the unknown personal photos in a locked room in Auschwitz that have become the hallmark of our foundation. Without Art, there would never have been Eyes from the Ashes exhibit nor The Last Album book.

March 6, 2023 — Jerusalem, Israel — Yad Vashem (by zoom)

“Spots of Light: To Be a Woman in the Holocaust” – All Jewish slave laborers suffered; all were starved, beaten, and brutalized, but there was an extra layer of suffering that Jewish women endured in the camps—and this suffering was caused by kapos, guards and even from some male prisoners. This session explored the extra exploitation of Jewish women during the Holocaust. This is an under-reported aspect of the Holocaust, one in which I will contribute more in the future.

January 8-10, 2021 AHO Winter Seminar, Miami, Florida

Association of Holocaust Organizations Winter Seminar, held—for the first time—in Miami, Florida, instead of Washington, DC, which has been its habitual home for decades. In addition to lectures, this conference featured outstanding Holocaust-related performances, including a powerful play about Hans & Sophie Scholl of the White Rose (two of a handful of students trying to fight the Nazis—
this valiant brother and sister were both caught and beheaded, together with mentor professor, and other White Rose members). There was also a dramatic reading, interspersing the writings of Anne Frank and Martin Luther King, as they related to each other. By Zoom, we Tova Feldshuh (who portrayed Golda Meir) spoke with us, and unfortunately, David Straithain, portraying Polish courier Jan Karski in a one man show, was prevented from speaking to us because his internet failed because of a storm in the Hudson Valley.January 8-10, 2021 AHO Winter Seminar, Miami, Florida Association of Holocaust Organizations Winter Seminar, held—for the first time—in Miami, Florida, instead of Washington, DC, which has been its habitual home for decades. In addition to lectures, this conference featured outstanding Holocaust-related performances, including a powerful play about Hans & Sophie Scholl of the White Rose (two of a handful of students trying to fight the Nazis—this valiant brother and sister were both caught and beheaded, together with mentor professor, and other White Rose members). There was also a dramatic reading, interspersing the writings of Anne Frank and Martin Luther King, as they related to each other. By Zoom, we Tova Feldshuh (who portrayed Golda Meir) spoke with us, and unfortunately, David Straithain, portraying Polish courier Jan Karski in a one man show, was prevented from speaking to us because his internet failed because of a storm in the Hudson Valley.

April 27, 2022

Weiss will give Yom Hashoah presentation for LMS on Wednesday April 27, 2022 at 8:30 pm. LMS is located at 123 Old Lancaster Rd in Bala Cynwyd, PA. The program is free and open to the public.

Following the keynote speech, Weiss will screen her film, “Eyes from the Ashes” and copies of her book will be available for purchase, at conclusion of the of the program.

May 4, 2022

Wednesday May 4, 2022 Weiss will give the Keynote speech for the Lycoming County Brotherhood Alliance in Williamsport, PA
(this event has been re-scheduled three times, and will finally take place).
For further information, contact Barry Rake at bkr@kabainc.biz

April 2021

—Weiss “attended” Yom Hashoah seminars in Europe, United States, and Israel—see highlights in April 2021 blog post.

June 3-September, 2021 Premiere of the exhibit titled “IMAGE and MEMORY: Yesterday and Today” at Bernard Zell School (3751 North Broadway in Chicago). As a year-long project, Ann Weiss has been teaching students in Chicago (see September/October 2020 blog for more details) and now this year-long project is culminating with a student-created exhibition, visible through the ground floor windows of the school. Since no one except students and faculty are ever allowed IN the school—including parents and me (I was able to teach the students in person, outside in a tent, with all of us masked, and then later, remotely, on Zoom, this exhibition is only able to be seen—through the ground floor windows—on site. However, since it will remain mounted throughout the summer, I am personally inviting you to visit, if you find yourself in Chicago this summer. Please see the school’s invitation below. I am hoping that this great effort by the students can be converted to digital format so that it can be viewed from anywhere in the world. A ‘girl’ can dream, right?

A single photograph represents a world entire. Each photo and short film in this exhibit represent the world of the Holocaust and its aftermath. Each photo represents a story about survival, death, loss, and trauma that reach across generations and time. Can you see those worlds in their eyes, their faces, and the objects they carry?

On behalf of Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, it is our distinct honor to invite you to the viewing of the Class of 2021’s yearlong, interdisciplinary project combining Holocaust studies with the art of photography. The result is a stunning gallery of meaningful images and profound stories.

This project was initiated under the leadership of eighth-grade history teacher, Dr. Jeff Ellison; middle school art teacher, Ms. Gili Sherman; and Bernard Zell Artist-in-Residence and author of The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dr. Ann Weiss.

With inspiration and guidance from Dr. Weiss—whose own work traces the history of individuals pictured in a cache of photos confiscated from the prisoners of Auschwitz—students completed a similar project using art and personal narrative. Beginning in the fall of last year, students were given the name and contact information of a Survivor, or if deceased, a Survivor’s relative. After learning the art of interviewing, and the history of photography and photographic techniques, students both interviewed their Survivor via Zoom and asked each to take a photo of themselves in a way that would reflect their personal narrative. Students then completed their own artist reflection photos, all of which will be on display.

Through dedicated research and interviews with each Survivor and their family members, the result is a gallery honoring the lives of those who lived through the atrocities of the Holocaust. In seeing and hearing the stories of these Survivors, the students became witnesses, and now you, the visitor, who sees and hears these stories, become witnesses as well.

Thursday, June 3
Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School
3751 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613

We look forward to sharing this meaningful project presented by our outstanding eighth-grade students.


Gary Weisserman
Head of School

Stephanie Bloom
Head of Middle School

September 2020-May 2021

In September, Ann Weiss drove to Chicago (12 plus hours) and started teaching a photography course to students at the Bernard Zell School. In this course, which runs through Spring 2021, Ann will teach students about the photos in the Eyes from the Ashes collection—how they were found, how they were saved and their significance. In addition, students will learn how to analyze photos, how to conduct an effective interview, and in this yearlong project, Weiss will also help students curate a contemporary exhibition of their own.

In addition, there is scarcely a day that goes by that Weiss is not involved in one (but usually more) Zoom lectures. For example, yesterday and today, September 29-September 30, 2020 is 79th anniversary of one of the largest massacres of Jews during the Holocaust: 34,000 Jews murdered at Babi Yar in a ravine measuring 45 feet deep and 900 feet long. Although I participated in two Babi Yar lectures in New York and in Illinois, on September 29-30, respectively, it is the 75th year after this massacre that I will never forget, because I was right there in Babi Yar and in Kiev, Ukraine.

In that year, together with my friend and colleague, Dr. Emilie Passow, we led a memorial service on the grounds of Babi Yar, as well as at a number of other murder sites in Ukraine. For those who don’t know, today Babi Yar is the site of a sprawling, lovely park, on the outskirts of Kiev. Although currently, there are discussions about building a memorial and education center, at present, no one but the most knowledgeable person could ever imagine that anything so sinister occurred there. Today it is an obscenely beautiful urban park, where people play ball, picnic and happily stroll.

Sunday June 14, 2020

Join us and 100 other museums and cultural institutions around the world for We Are Here: A Celebration of Resilience, Resistance, and Hope on Sunday, June 14 at 2:00 PM ET.

Featuring award-winning media personalities Whoopi Goldberg, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Adrien Brody, Mayim Bialik, and Jackie Hoffman, world-renowned singers and musicians Renee Fleming, Lea Salonga, Steven Skybell, Joyce DiDonato, and Lang Lang, and other public figures from all walks of life, the free 90-minute program will commemorate the recent anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and project a message of hope amidst the crises we face. Find more info and tune in to view the program.

Thursday April 30, 2020 – Ann Weiss will give keynote speech at the Brotherhood Alliance Annual Dinner, Williamsport. PA (from 6-9 pm).

NOTE: This event cannot take place now, as scheduled, because of covid-19.


Ordinarily, this section would inform you of speeches and exhibits and other opportunities for us to meet, or events you can attend where I am keynoting or participating. However, these are not ordinary times.

Of course, my Yom Hashoah presentations and other speeches have been canceled or postponed, so I am very sorry not to be able to meet with you personally. However, because this week is Yom Hashoah, there are a number of meaningful events and commemorations that I’d like to share with you here, immediately.

Although virtually every community has its own Yom Hashoah commemoration, I am highlighting only a few for special consideration:

[Note: By clicking the links below, you have the opportunity to register for any of these free events]

1-This consortium of Holocaust museums and Holocaust organizations has a link that, in addition to the traditional memorial service and lighting 6 candles in memory of the 6 million, this one also gives you access to a superb film by #Roberta Grossman, ‘Who Will Write Our History?’ based on the excellent book of the same title by #Samuel Kassow. By clicking below, you will be able to participate in this Yom Hashoah service and also to view this superb film.


2- Although there are city-wide commemorations throughout the country and throughout the world, I wanted to particularly highlight the one in Pittsburgh as well as the Yom Hashoah article, written by Lauren Bairnsfather, published in the Times of Israel. Lauren is the Director of the Pittsburgh Holocaust Center and after the Tree of Life murders, she was called upon, again and again, to help the Pittsburgh community heal. It is for that reason that I have chosen to spotlight Pittsburgh’s Yom Hashoah service, Sunday April 19 at noon.

Holocaust Rememberance Goes Virtual Article

Yom Hashoah Event Link

3-In his website, Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks regularly offers a thought-provoking dialogues and reflections for the week. This week, in association with Yom Hashoah and with the Holocaust Education Trust in Great Britain, he presents a series of video reflections and dialogues on the Holocaust. To hear any (or all) of his 19 video clips on, as he puts it, the “biggest spiritual and ethical questions posed by the Holocaust” (including: Where was G-d? Where was Humanity? How has the Holocaust impacted my own faith? What is the place of the Holocaust in 21st century Jewish identity?), please click here: RABBI SACK’S HOLOCAUST EDUCATION WEBSITE

Click the image below for a message from Rabbi Sacks

Monday January 27, 2020 in New York City:

Ann Weiss will attend the United Nations General Assembly ceremony to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

At a presentation at the UN, the personal photos that Jews carried to Auschwitz, which form the basis of Ann Weiss’ book, traveling exhibition and film montage, will be highlighted in a special lecture.

Weiss will continue to commemorate the 75th anniversary with a lecture at the museum, delivered by Robert Jan van Pelt, Chief Curator of the massive Auschwitz exhibition, titled “Not Long Ago, Not Far Away”, in which he explains how this unique exhibit was created and organized. Note: Weiss’ photos are included in this monumental exhibition.

Finally, the 75th Anniversary of Auschwitz’ Liberation concludes with a concert by Yitzhak Perlman, which Weiss is grateful to attend.

January 11-14, 2020, Weiss participates in Association of Golocaust Organizations Winter Seminar, Washington DC

Click here for Past Events