History Brought into Sharp Focus at Holocaust Student Internship Ceremony

Published: January 27, 2014

"This internship opened my eyes to the fact that Jews weren’t passive victims of the Holocaust—they fought with all their might to survive their persecution."  Luis Hernandez who interviewed survivor Ethel Katz

“I felt very connected to Lena for many reasons. One day she showed me her wedding photo and I recognized a painting in the background which is a copy of the same print hanging on the wall in my living room. She explained to me that her husband had given it to her and I replied that my father had given it to my mother.”  Genesis Fernande who interviewed survivor Lena Goren

“His great blue eyes and sharp mind reminded me of my beloved grandfather.” Sterio Nika who interviewed survivor Sam Widawsky

Hannah Deutch

“Her favorite times in life were spent helping people in the military and so, as an artist, I wanted to sketch a portrait of her as a young woman in uniform.” Tegran Pogosian who interviewed survivor Hannah Deutch

"When I met her I was feeling emotional because my grandmother had recently passed away. I developed a close bond with Jane and hope to spend more time with her." Desiree Santos, who interviewed survivor Jane Keibel

“I know what it feels like to have your freedom taken away,” said Bolaji Ayorinde, a student intern who participated in the completion ceremony on January 16 for the Kupferberg Holocaust Student Internship Program.

The event, held at Queensborough’s Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives (KHRCA), featured ten students—from various areas of study—who shared the stories of the survivors they interviewed.

Bolaji, currently in the Business Academy, is originally from Nigeria. As a child he immigrated with his father to the United Kingdom. Over the years, he enjoyed learning about a different culture and meeting new people.  Unfortunately, it was during this period that his temporary resident visa expired. He explained, “This time last year, I was incarcerated.” 

Dr. Arthur Flug, Executive Director of the Center, established the Holocaust Student Internship Program in 2007.  He remarked on the extent to which “our interns appreciate the complexity of how survivors coped under such tragic circumstances.”

Memorable moments included the presentation of the

Sally Sachs Memorial Award to Luis Hernandez, a student intern in the Liberal Arts Academy.  Luis applied for the internship program because he wants to learn more about the Holocaust and develop interpersonal skills that he believes will be useful to him as a physician. Recently, he served as an intern at Columbia University Medical Center.

Another intern, Wasif Khan, Business Academy, was very active in his native country of Bangladesh, educating the community about hate crimes.

Internship applications from students have tripled at the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives since its inception. Through the internship program, students learn about moral dilemmas and why it is important to become informed citizens on both local and global issues.

Local officials who attended the event included State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky along with Assemblymembers David Weprin and Ed Braunstein. Assemblymember Nily Rozic, who was unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts, was represented by a member of her staff.

Of the 12 Holocaust Student Interns, eight are students in the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which is designed to accelerate degree completion within three years at community colleges. Bobbi Brauer, Director of the ASAP Program at QCC, noted that the seventh cohort brought in 360 students, bringing the total fall 2013 enrollment to 648 students, "the largest enrollment to date of the personalized, student support program."

Bolaji Ayorinde, Business Academy

Nazia Bhatti, Liberal Arts Academy

Panam Bhatti, Health Related Sciences Academy, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Genesis Fernande, Dance, Liberal Arts Academy, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Deycer Michelle Giraldo, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts Academy, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Luis Hernandez, Liberal Arts Academy; NYS Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Keyla Jiminez, Science, Technologies, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Academy, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Wasif Khan, Business Academy

Kyo Navarre Pincus, Liberal Arts Academy

Sterio Nika, Liberal Arts Academy, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Tegran Pogosian, Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VAPA),  Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) and Recipient of the Haney Medal at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by the Art League of New York

Desiree Santos, Liberal Arts Academy, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)



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