Virtual Programs

Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust

The Iowa Jewish Historical Society (IJHS) is marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) by introducing a new, six-part series: Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust. VE Day commemorates the acceptance by the Allied forces of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. The end of the war included the liberation of the concentration camps the Germans operated during the war.

This series features materials from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society (IJHS) oral history collection. Susan Jellinger, Oral History Assistant, mined this collection to select segments from several WWII veterans and one WHO Radio farm reporter who became a war correspondent. The five veterans featured are: William Barton, Dean Lettington, Ronald “Uby” Rabinovitz, Manny Soodhalter, and Alfred Wiser. The reporter who witnessed, wrote, and photographed what he saw was Herb Plambeck.

The first segment is on William Barton. Subsequent segments will be posted to the IJHS website in the coming weeks leading up to the 76th anniversary of D-Day, June 6.

Dean Lettington is interviewed by Jordan Leslie Bookey in this second installment of the IJHS series, Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust. Two segments from the original 1995 interview are highlighted and augmented with some biographical information and news articles about him, plus information about the Iowa Jewish Historical Society. Mr. Lettington became passionate about sharing his military experiences with school and community groups.

Yom HaShoah and Beyond

Testimonies from Holocaust Survivors Who Came to Des Moines

Nearly 40 years ago, Des Moines’ Jewish community began a special effort to document the personal stories of many of the Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Central Iowa that has continues into the 21st century. 

Listen to excerpts from the accounts of seven of those survivors whose personal stories were shared on Yom HaShoah in 2019. This year, as we face uncertain times, we want to ensure that the more than 6 million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust are never forgotten.