Happy Birthday, Joe Engel!

The Board of Directors and the Professional Staff of the Charleston Jewish Federation extend our best wishes to Joe Engel on his 90th birthday. 

Joe Engel's story begins in the small town of Zakroczym, Poland. Joe grew up in a close-knit, mixed community, where Jewish and non-Jewish people were often friends and neighbors. His family was large (he had eight brothers and sisters, including Irene), and although luxuries were few, they lived simply and comfortably.

In 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, everything changed. Joe experienced the misery of a ghetto, concentration camps, and the death march of Auschwitz before he finally escaped from a cattle train in 1945. The only surviving members of his immediate family were two brothers and a sister. The Zakroczym that Joe knew does not exist anymore; it was rebuilt after sustaining heavy bombing during the war.*

Today, Joe lives in Charleston, South Carolina. He has been, and continues to be, a champion of the Charleston Jewish Federation REMEMBER Program for Holocaust Education and Genocide Awareness since its inception. He has bravely shared his painful testimony of his Holocaust experience throughout the years with students across the Lowcountry.

Joe is an integral part of the Charleston Jewish community and is active in many of our local institutions.

Here are three ways you can join us in celebrating Joe this month:

1) To Auschwitz and Back: The Joe Engel Story: Join us for the first public screening of a documentary film about Joe's life. Admission is free buy an RSVP with number of seats is required by 10/13 to rsmall@anchormediagroup.tv. We are at maximum capacity and will not be able to accommodate walk-ins! Note: Film contains graphic content. Parental discretion advised. Thursday, October 19th, Synagogue Emanu-El, 5 Windsor Drive, 7:30 - 9:30 pm.

2) Celebrating 90 Years of Memories Honoring Joe Engel: Open bar and dinner by Cru Catering; $200 per ticket; Click here to reserve your seat. Sunday, October 22nd, Brith Sholom Beth Israel, 182 Rutledge Ave. 6 pm Cocktails, 7 pm Dinner.

3) To make a donation to the REMEMBER Program in honor of Joe''s birthday, click here. 

You can also send a check directly to Charleston Jewish Federation with the REMEMBER Program in the subject line: 

176 Croghan Spur Rd, Suite 100

Charleston, SC 29407

Or call Kelly at 843-614-6497


*Biography courtesy of The Holocaust Quilt. To learn more about Joe, a 1997 oral history interview is available from the Lowcountry Digital Library at http://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:11820 The video documentary "For Every Person There Is a Name," featuring three Charleston-area Holocaust survivors, including Joe, is also available by calling Rebecca Engel at 843-614-6484 or emailing RebeccaL@jewishcharleston.org


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