Celina Karp Event

Events and Programs

As part of our mission, the Iowa Jewish Historical Society (IJHS) builds community understanding of Jewish history and culture through educational programming. Check back often to find upcoming events and programs for children, school groups and adults!

“With the museum staff’s help, our students were comfortable in asking questions and finding an empathy they might not have had before going to the museum. We are grateful for the generous welcome to the Iowa Jewish Historical Society each year and for having the opportunity to visit!”
— Colleen Tendall, Van Meter High School

Upcoming Events

Michael Bornstein & Debbie Bornstein Holinstat Presentations

Michael Bornstein is one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz death camp. At the age of four, he managed to stay hidden and evade murder in the most notorious death camp in world history. Photos of Michael being liberated by Soviet soldiers at the camp have been spotted on museum walls, book covers, and film clips around the world but he waited more than seventy years to step forward and share his story.

He wrote the New York Times bestseller Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz with his daughter Debbie, who is a broadcast news journalist and writer. Along the way, he and his family were stunned to uncover shocking new details about his survival that included a bribery scheme, untold acts of kindness by a German leader, and one perfectly-timed brush with illness.

Come hear Michael and Debbie describe how Michael was hidden in Auschwitz for seven months before being carried out of the death camp in his grandmother’s arms. Learn how a father’s courageous wit, his mother’s love, and a perfectly-timed illness saved his life. Hear, too, how other members of his family from Zarki, Poland escaped death time and time again.

Sunday, Sept. 15 at 2 pm

Monday, Sept. 16 at 7 pm


The Iowa Jewish Historical Society is deeply grateful to our sponsors who are not only making Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat’s possible but are also making it possible for the IJHS to make the public events at local schools free to all. Additional sponsorships welcome! Contact Sandi @ 515-987-0899 ext. 216.

Platinum Sponsors

Lou and Marilyn Hurwitz

Silver Sponsors

Don and Margo Blumenthal
Larry and Suzanne Engman
Stan and Mary Seidler
Tim and Toni Urban
Alan Zuckert
Randi and John Stern

Past Events

To get an idea of the types of gatherings that we offer, the following are some of our past events in the Greater Des Moines area.

From September 10-13, 2017, the Iowa Jewish Historical Society had the distinct honor of presenting a series of programs featuring Celina Karp Biniaz, one of the last survivors from Schindler’s List—and the only one to graduate from an Iowa high school and college. Celina captivated students and the general public alike with her story of surviving the Holocaust and her message of hope and forgiveness. Hear Celina’s presentations.

From April 3-6, 2017, the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines hosted three Israeli educators who shared their personal stories and innovative approaches to education with educators and general audiences at a luncheon sponsored by the Iowa Jewish Historical Society.

With the publication of our cookbook in 2015, Beyond Matzo Balls: Celebrating 100 Years of Jewish Cooking, we launched the Food in Jewish Life exhibit and held a sold-out event, A Taste of Jewish Cooking. The evening featured recipes from the book and preceded a Windsor Heights “Music in the Park” concert by the Java Jews playing Klezmer music.

On April 1, 2009, the “Memories and Melodies of Auschwitz” event at Tifereth Israel Synagogue featured Celina Karp Biniaz, one of the last living survivors from Schindler’s List, and Alex Biniaz-Harris and Ambrose Soehn, pianists and composers of Melodies of Auschwitz.