Fern Zagor: Resistance, Resilience & Hope
Fern Zagor, daughter of two Holocaust survivors, has spoken for several years to students of Wagner College about her mother Frieda's experiences in the Warsaw ghetto and Majdanek, and her post-war commitment to racial justice and human rights.
On October 21, 2020, Fern invited us to walk in her footsteps back to Europe, through Warsaw, Majdanek, Vilna and Bamberg, with a touching photo journal of "Resilience, Resistance and Hope: My Holocaust Journey of Discovery." Joining Fern was her mother's younger sister Estelle Glaser Laughlin, a child survivor, now age 91, who read aloud a passage from her memoir, Transcending Darkness: A Girl’s Journey Out of the Holocaust. Estelle recently published a new book, Hanna, I Forgot to Tell You.
Fern’s evocative images of Poland and Lithuania captured the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto and the killing places of Majdanek and Ponary, including piles of shoes of Jewish victims. Estelle shared reflections on the underground schools in Warsaw and walks where they bravely hid books under their clothing. Fern’s father Sol Aaron escaped the Vilna ghetto and fought with the partisans, including Abba Kovner, a personal friend. Fern visited sites associated with Righteous Gentiles such as Chiune Sugihara and Jan and Antonia Zabinski (“The Zookeeper’s Wife”). Fern expressed hope from the commitment of her non-Jewish tour guides to remembrance of the Shoah.
Fern is a member of the Chai Society of Wagner College, which supports the Holocaust Center. She recently participated in our program Youth Stand Up to Hate at I.S. 2 with the SI District Attorney’s Office. Fern Aaron Zagor, LCSW, has recently incorporated as Fern Zagor Consulting LLC after serving as President and CEO of Staten Island Mental Health Society. Her husband David, a volunteer docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, has given memorable tours to many classes of Wagner College students, with a particular emphasis on pre-war photos of Jewish children who did not survive.