@CornerstoneJamaica - Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project (Watch Video Below)

Ainsley Cohen Henriques and David Matalon, both leaders of the United Congregation of Israelites of Kingston, Jamaica, helped me to restore the grave of my beloved sister Yvonne in 2014. At the time of Yvonne’s untimely death at four years old in June of 1942, there was no rabbi nor prayer books, just two devastated parents, Hala and Ignas Krakowiak. at her grave site in the Orange Street Cemetery. (Photos taken 1942, 1960 and June 2014 below).

Thank you to @GaryRobinson (see video below) who was there in November of 2016 to document the Gibraltar Evacuee Camp, a camp created for 1500 Gibraltarians who were evacuated by the British before the fighting would begin in the Mediterranean. Prof. Diana Cooper-Clark organized a reunion of refugees, who were sent to the camp for their protection in 1942, on the occasion of her book launch in November 2016. Inez Baker, fifteen years old at the time she was evacuated to the camp, was the only one of the original evacuees who was able to attend the reunion. She came with her two sons to remember.

I represented my parents, my aunt and uncle and my sister. The Kaddish that was never said at the time of her death was intoned by a very special man, Eli Gabay (see minute 4:14 of the video attached below). I want to thank Diana’s best friend Margaret Thompson (former director of the Jewish Book Fair of Toronto), Anna Ruth Henriques (talented jewelry artist), Amy Wachtel (the soulful radio-jocky Night Nurse), Kathryn Kates Casavant (delightful Canadienne journalist), Inez Baker and her family and Robert Jacobvitz (Chair of the @SousaMendesFdn Advisory Council) for honoring me with their participation on that memorable day.

Approximately 20 persons (and maybe more) were among the evacuees who were rescued first by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and a second time by the JOINT (American Joint Distribution Committee) and supported by the HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).

For more about Jamaica:
Dreams of Re-Creation in Jamaica: The Holocaust, Internment, Jewish Refugees in Gibraltar Camp, Jamaican Jews and Sephardim by Prof. Diana Cooper-Clark

If I’m Not back By Wednesday by Geoffery Haddad

L to R: Alan (Gary’s cameraman), Gary Robinson. Margaret Thompson, Diana Cooper-Clark. Amy Wachtel, Itzhak Halperin, Joan Halperin, Inez Bakers’ son (behind Joan), College student reporter on Gary’s Team, Robert Jacobvitz.

L to R: Alan (Gary’s cameraman), Gary Robinson. Margaret Thompson, Diana Cooper-Clark. Amy Wachtel, Itzhak Halperin, Joan Halperin, Inez Bakers’ son (behind Joan), College student reporter on Gary’s Team, Robert Jacobvitz.

L to R: Amy, Joan and Margaret with Joan’s book   My Sister’s Eyes,   a tribute to Joan’s sister Yvonne (pictured on the cover).

L to R: Amy, Joan and Margaret with Joan’s book My Sister’s Eyes, a tribute to Joan’s sister Yvonne (pictured on the cover).

Joan presents a plaque from the Sousa Mendes Foundation (SMF) to the Israelite Community of Jamaica in recognition of the role members of the community played in making life better for the Jewish residents of Gibraltar Evacuee Camp from 1942 - 1946, when the last evacuees left Jamaica.  L to R: Ainsley Henriques, Itzhak Halperin, Joan and Robert Jacobvitz, Chair of the SMF Advisory Council.

Joan presents a plaque from the Sousa Mendes Foundation (SMF) to the Israelite Community of Jamaica in recognition of the role members of the community played in making life better for the Jewish residents of Gibraltar Evacuee Camp from 1942 - 1946, when the last evacuees left Jamaica.
L to R: Ainsley Henriques, Itzhak Halperin, Joan and Robert Jacobvitz, Chair of the SMF Advisory Council.

Top - 1942 - The way Hala and Ignas left the grave. Bottom left - 1960 - The way they found it when the visited, Bottom right - 2014 -The way Joan found Yvonne’s grave. Joan could only identify Yvonne’s grave by its position in the cemetery.

Top - 1942 - The way Hala and Ignas left the grave. Bottom left - 1960 - The way they found it when the visited, Bottom right - 2014 -The way Joan found Yvonne’s grave. Joan could only identify Yvonne’s grave by its position in the cemetery.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was one of the 36 diplomats honored at the UN - Jan 28, 2019

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was one of the 36 diplomats honored at the United Nations Headquarters for helping thousands of people during world War II.
António #Guterres presided over the tribute at the #UN headquarters. The Un Secretary-General recalled the role of these diplomats during the #Holocaust.
#Portugal was one of the countries that promoted this tribute that featured the participation of the permanent representative of Portugal, Francisco Duarte Lopes and the Consul-General In New York, Maria de Andrade Mendes.

Here are some unique moments of sharing emotions with Leah Rozenfeld Sills and Stefan Rozenfeld, Olivia MattisMariana AbrantesJoan Arnay HalperinIsabelle Coelho-Marques, among others.

Click here to see the album: https://www.facebook.com/pg/sousamendesfoundation/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2284288998257701

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Meeting the Creator of Chasing Portraits - Jewish Film Festival of NYC - Jan. 16, 2019

After following Elizabeth Rynecki @erynecki  creator of Chasing Portraits , from the inception of her Kickstarter campaign to reading the book and finally viewing the documentary,
Joan Arnay Halperin says,
“CONGRATULATIONS Elizabeth you are an inspiration!!! Your work is a tribute to your great-grandfather Moshe Rynecki, painter and historian ( His paintings record the history of Polish Jews of the interwar period.) for his body of work and and to you for your dedication to his memory.”

Elizabeth Rynecki and Joan Arnay Halperin, January 16, 2019

Elizabeth Rynecki and Joan Arnay Halperin, January 16, 2019

UN Honors Diplomat Rescuers on Holocaust Remembrance Day - 2019

The opening of the exhibition BEYOND DUTY:  DIPLOMATS RECOGNIZED AS RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS at the United Nations in New York City on Monday, January 28, from 1:15-2:30 p.m. 

The event is free, but pre-registration is required, please click here.

This space will be prepared for remarks by Secretary General António Guterres and the UN Ambassadors of Portugal, Israel and Peru.

UN - Apollo statue  and satellite.JPG


Where to place MY SISTER'S EYES in your library: J 940.5318 or YAN025090 ??? - How Aristides de Sousa Mendes Saved Thousands During @WWII - My Sister's Eyes at the Hillsdale, NJ Library

As Joan approaches the Holocaust section of the Hillsdale Library, her heart starts to thump…

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There it is - My Sister's Eyes with the author's photo protruding graciously from the shelf…

My Sister's Eyes - Hillsdale Library - Holocaust section - Catalog Number.jpg

Upon closer inspection, Joan sees the catalog number: J 940.5318 - the "J" stands for Juvenile…

My Sister's Eyes - Hillsdale Library - Holocaust section - Library Stamp.jpg

The Hillsdale Library stamp sits proudly on the title page…

My Sister's Eyes - Hillsdale Library - Holocaust section - Next to Elie Wiesel   arrow.jpg

And, to put the icing on the cake, Joan remarks that My Sister's Eyes rests auspiciously close to Elie Wiesel's Night (Follow the red arrow.)

Borrow a copy of
My Sister’s Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II or (better yet) get your own copy to share with your family at @SousaMendesFdn Store Click here: Sousa Mendes Foundation.org