Special Events

The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines hosts special events that honor our Jewish heritage, celebrate community members and support Federation programs. Events are added to this page throughout the year. We also announce special events to our email subscribers, on our Facebook page, and through the mail, so we hope you’ll stay in touch.


To view all community happenings, check out our calendar.

Wednesday, September 7 – An Evening with the Indianapolis Quartet in honor of Holocaust survivor, David Wolnerman

Listen to David’s story in his own words as he recounts how he was only 13 years old when the Nazis took him to a labor camp from his birthplace in Mondzejow, Poland, which was a town of approximately 10,000, half of whom were Jews. David recounts the antisemitism growing up, going from a labor camp to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he worked in the crematorium. He learned about the medical experiment performed at Auschwitz-Birkenau and contrived to be transferred. David speaks briefly of liberation, coming to America, and going into business with his brother-in-law.

READ David’s story in A Lucky Lie: The Power of 18, available on Amazon.com.

Listen to Jennie Wolnerman’s story in her own words. David’s wife Jennie came from Bedzin, Poland. She described her family and their well-to-do life before the Nazis came. Jennie was sent to a labor camp and 2 sisters joined her there in 1943.  When the Russians got close to the factory, the prisoners were marched from Germany to Prague, Czechoslovakia.  She and 7 other young women escaped into the woods, begging and/or stealing food from nearby farms.  At one house, Jennie was befriended by an anti-Nazi German/Czech who hid Jennie and the other girls in her attic for about 2 weeks until the Americans came. Jennie ends the interview with details of her post-liberation and post-WWII life.