Logo Image

Helen and Sol Krawitz Holocaust Memorial Education Center

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center

Logo Image

Descendant Profile








    I enjoy working with people from all backgrounds, cultures, ages and nationalities. My parents are survivors of the Holocaust and our family did suffer persecution by the Nazis.  Therefore, as a Child of Survivors, I understand the importance of respecting and honoring the human rights of every person, so there will be a more peaceful world for future generations which is my legacy.

    As Director of Community Programs for Raritan Valley Community College, I have designed the educational programs for The Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies for the past 14 years. The Institute hosts about 3,000 students and educators yearly who attend the annual Learning Through Experience Program. The various speakers and workshops address the consequences of prejudice, hate, intolerance, and violence that lead to The Holocaust and Genocides of today. Topics include the roles that people play in society: rescuer, victim, bystander collaborator, and perpetrator. We ask the participants: When confronted with a situation today, what would you do?

     I have more than 25 years of experience in Holocaust and Genocide studies as well as cultural diversity and interfaith relations. I earned a Masters of the Arts (1999) at Seton Hall University with a concentration in Jewish-Christian Studies and Holocaust Studies.

    As the Assistant to the New Jersey State Holocaust Commission, I lectured and spoke to numerous students as well as teachers throughout the Private and Public schools, and the Universities of New Jersey. In 1990,  I was the primary author of the first Curriculum on prejudice reduction, cultural diversity, Holocaust and genocide: Caring Makes A Difference K-8,which is mandated in the schools of New Jersey.  As the teacher-trainer of this curriculum, I presented workshops, seminars and lectures to private and public school districts.

    As the Assistant to the Director of the New Jersey State Holocaust Commission, I have worked with many agencies and organizations. I established a relationship and network with government officials, diplomats, as well as leaders in the Community.  I organized and conducted the oral history interviews for survivors and their families in the Metro West and RVCC communities.

    I had the opportunity to travel extensively both nationally and internationally, particularly when I was invited to attend or present papers at numerous conferences. Not only did I represent the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust and Genocide Education, but I also spoke as Second Generation having been born in a Displaced Person’s Camp near Frankfurt, Germany.

    I produced three films that deal with issues about how the Holocaust has affected families and future generations: The Second Generation-Ripples From The Holocaust, 2012, and THE OTHER, in 2014 and Margit- Not A23029 in 2016.

    As a contributor to a 9/11 Curriculum: Learning From the Challenges of Our Times: Global Security, Terrorism and 9/11 in the Classroom, I believe that lessons for K-12, will assist educators to talk and teach about this tragic event that changed our lives forever.

    Editor’s Note:

    Peppy (Pearl Schwarzberg) was the first baby born in the Displaced Persons Camp in Zeilsheim, Germany. She recalls with fondness the love she received from the survivors there who embraced her. (Refer to photo of her father in uniform holding her in the DP Camp in Related Media).


    For Descendant Submission, Select "Interview"  with Peppy Margolis



    Location: Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg, New Jersey

    Date: May 22, 2017

    Interviewer: Nancy Gorrell

    Q: Describe your mother’s background.
    My mother, Sarah Cedarbojm was born in Rejowiec, Poland in August 1926 and grew up there until she was 12 years old when she was taken to the Rejowiec ghetto. She had a grandmother she was close to. She talked about her grandmother. They had to leave her grandmother behind. She had two older brothers, 17 and 18 years old. They were tailors with my grandfather. My grandfather was a handsome and well-respected man in town. Rejowiec was bigger than my father’s town; not a shtetl. In the summers they would go on vacation with the family. They had a better life than my father. They lived in a house and they had a synagogue in the town.

    Q: What was religious life in Rejowiec like pre-war?
    My mother talked about going to a synagogue and having holidays in the home with all her family. She talked about holidays and visiting family in Lublin and Chelm.

    Q: What happened to your mother’s family when Hitler invaded Poland?
    It was Passover when the Nazis came for them.  Passover is a difficult holiday for my mother because she remembers the soup and food cooking on the stove.
    My grandfather had a Polish woman working for him, and he gave her jewelry and money to save my mother. This Polish woman agreed to hide my mother, and she put her in a haystack for one day, and then took her to the ghetto to get money from the Nazis, so my mother ended up in the ghetto with the rest of the family. This was 1939. They stayed in the ghetto. Eventually, they were sent to Majdanek, where she saw her mother being taken to the gas chamber. My grandmother was killed in Majdanek. My mother didn’t know what happened to her father or brothers.

    Q: What did your mother ever tell you about her experiences in Majdanek and Auschwitz?
    She was in two death camps for the entire time—Majdanek and Auschwitz. She never talked about her experience. She eventually went to Auschwitz. I don’t know when. I think she was two years in each place. But she was in the ghetto and then two death camps for the whole time.

    Q: Did she speak about liberation?
    She was liberated by the Russians while on a death march. The only thing she ever told me was the last week before liberation, one of her brothers found her in the barracks. To this day she didn’t know how he got past the killer dogs. He was 6’ 2” and he was only 80 pounds. She asked him to hold out. She gave him a small piece of moldy bread she saved. He told her she had to live to tell the story. How did he walk through the camp to see my mother? She told me she would tell her story on her deathbed. But I’m sure in Auschwitz there are medical records. Now she’s 91 and has Alzheimer’s disease, so she relives her time in the Holocaust but can’t talk about it.

    Q: What happened to your mother after liberation?
    Like my father, she went to Frankfurt Am Main and was placed in a Displaced Persons camp, in Zeilsheim, Germany (12 miles west of Frankfurt) in the American occupied zone. She met my father in the DP camp, and they married at the end of October 1945, and I was born in the DP camp on July 19, 1946. They waited four more years before they could emigrate—two years in Zeilsheim, and two years across from the train station in Frankfurt.

    Q: What was emigrating from Germany to America like for your family?
    My mother, father and I came to the US, at the end of April 1950 by plane. We were the first group to go by plane. It was a cargo plane. We did not go through Ellis Island. We were sick the whole time on that plane. This was arranged through the Jewish Community of Westwood, New Jersey that sponsored us, and also HIAS; they settled us in Westwood. Westwood was like a little island within an anti-Semitic area. I was almost five years old. My mother was pregnant with my brother, Robert at the time. Robert was born on May 3, 1950. We did not know about living family in America. We did locate family in New York: a distant cousin of my father, Joe Siegel, and my mother’s aunt, Lilly Wessley. We were very lucky, but we were very isolated because there no other family members close by, and we couldn’t speak the language. After we all grew up, my parents moved to Rivervale, New Jersey on Westwood Avenue. My parents loved living on something called “Westwood.”

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce condimentum lacus purus, et suscipit justo semper nec. Maecenas non lectus odio. Aliquam volutpat neque ac placerat gravida. Nullam sit amet venenatis ante. Proin vestibulum volutpat purus vel dapibus.

  • Sources and Credits:


    Biography by Peppy Margolis; SSBJCC Interview with Peppy Margolis, May 22, 2017; Digital historic and family photos donated by Peppy Margolis.