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Holocaust Memorial Education Center

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center

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Descendant Profile







    Michelle Edgar is a 3G from New Jersey and is one of the founding members of 3GNJ. Michelle is currently the Program Specialist for the Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Raritan Valley Community College. Michelle received her B.A. in education from Rowan University and her M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Gratz College. Michelle’s maternal and paternal families lived in Germany for generations; many relatives did not survive the Holocaust. Fortunately, Michelle’s grandparents, the Appels, Rosenthals, and Vollweillers did survive. The impact the Holocaust had on her family has been profound and has motivated Michelle in her career and volunteer work. Michelle was trained at the SSBJCC professionally to tell her family’s story to audiences through WEDU, a partnership of 3GNJ and 3GNY in the spring of 2019.  She was appointed to the 3GNY Board for 2021 when the two organizations formed a regional partnership of grandchildren of Holocaust survivors with 3GPhilly. Michelle has been married to Robert for 25 years and they have two children.



    My family comes from Germany. My grandfather, Hans Moritz Vollweiler, was the son of Liebman Vollweiler and Frieda Einstein. Born on October 7, 1907, in Heidenheim, Germany, my grandfather had four siblings. Justin was the oldest followed by my grandfather, his sister, Ilse, brother, Werner and the youngest sibling, Victor. The family raised cattle on their farm in Heidenheim. The family was religious and kept a kosher home. My grandfather met my grandmother, Erna Lichtstern, in Germany. 


    Erna Lichtstern was the daughter of Sigmund Lichtstern and Mallie Katz. My grandmother, Erna, had one older brother, Herbert and the family came from Munich. My grandparents got married in Germany and moved to Washington Heights, New York City in 1938 to escape the terror of the Nazi regime. There were several generations that lived in this household in New York City. In this apartment there lived my great-great-grandmother, known as the Alte Oma, my great-grandparents, Sigmund and Mallie and my grandparents, Hans and Erna in addition to their two children, my mother being the youngest child. The family belonged to an Orthodox Synagogue, Ahavath Torah Synagogue in Washington Heights. This is also where the children received their Jewish education. My grandfather, Hans, made his living selling children's clothing. The family stayed in Washington Heights until the late 1960's and then moved to Yonkers, New York once their children were married. Several years later they moved Hallandale, Florida.

  • Sources and Credits:


    Biography by Michelle Edgar; Testimony by Michelle Edgar. Digital and historic  family photographs donated by Michelle Edgar.