MEET THE TEAM: THE DURBAN HOLOCAUST CENTRE

Mary KlukDirector
Mary conceptualized the idea of the Durban Holocaust Centre after being inspired by the Cape Town Holocaust Centre and seeing a need for support of the SA Department of Education’s inclusion of the study of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in the national curriculum (compulsory for all Grade Nines and for senior history students).

She established support, secured funding, found premises (twice) and built a team of volunteers and staff. Since the centre opened in March 2008, Mary has still been involved in all aspects of the DHC, including finances, fundraising, refurbishing and forward planning. Working closely with her colleagues in CT and JHB through the centre’s affiliation to the SA Holocaust and Genocide Foundation, Mary’s daily activities are focussed around pursuing the vision of the DHC: building a more caring society. “I absolutely love the work I am involved with at the DHC – every day we have the opportunity to positively influence the hearts and minds of our fellow South Africans, sensitizing them to what can happen if racism is left to go unchecked.”

CALL HER IF… you’d like to discuss your personal connection to the Holocaust, ideas for events we could host or how you can become involved in the centre.

Maureen CaminskyProject Manager
Maureen coordinates school and adult groups who come through the centre and guides several of them herself. She also organizes the centre’s popular public events programme and sees to managing staff and dealing with building maintenance.

“I enjoy meeting so many people and hearing their amazing stories,” she reveals. “I love interacting with children and I hope that they will understand that life is about the choices we make and the courage to take ownership of those decisions. When a child says ‘today changed my life’ after our workshop then I know we must be doing something right!”

CALL HER IF… you have a suggestion for a speaker or event, or you’d like a guided tour of the DHC for school excursions, adult groups or private individuals. Walk-ins welcome – you’ll usually find Maureen in the office.

Alana BaranovHead of Adult Education and Social Justice Programmes
Alana creates and runs the DHC’s adult education workshops and social justice programmes. She works to build relationships with and collaborations between the Durban Holocaust Centre and the broader society, including links with government departments, other NGOs involved in human rights work, Chapter 9 institutions, the media, business, and the education, legal and medical sectors. She remind us: “As Nelson Mandela said, ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’, and our mission at the DHC is to use the terrible history of the Holocaust to tackle current issues facing South African society.”

CALL HER IF… you’d like more information on the centre’s adult education workshops or social justice initiatives. She’s also available for media enquiries, special events information or the DHC’s work with broader society on human rights issues and critical social dialogues.

THE GUIDES

Since its inception, the DHC has depended on a wonderful team of volunteer guides, who selflessly give of their time and passion to teach a new generation about the lessons of the Holocaust. All guides are trained by the centre and lead school groups through the permanent exhibition during an intensive 3.5 hour workshop. “Seeing the children develop emotionally in the short time they are with us is so rewarding,” reveals Bev Oshry, who has been guiding at the DHC for several years. “We have a unique opportunity to open their eyes to a more positive way of seeing people. It’s our privilege and our responsibility.”

If you’re interested in joining our team of guides, call Maureen on 031 368 6833 or email her here [hyperlink Maureen: Volunteer guide]

MEET THE TEAM: DHC GIFT SHOP AND CIRCLE CAFE

Michele MeikleManageress, DHC Gift Shop
Friendly, smiley Michele spends her day merchandising, window dressing, and helping customers pick out the perfect gift or décor item. “I have a passion for beautiful things,” she professes, “and I feel so honoured that the proceeds of everything I sell go back to the DHC for education.” She’s also an ad hoc gift wrapper, waitress and babysitter.

CALL HER IF… you’re looking for a gift for a loved one or a special something for your home, you’d like to see a particular product stocked in the gift shop, or you have your own range the gift shop might feature.

Carol StrousHead of Outside Catering, Circle Cafe
The energetic Carol is always on the go, sourcing the finest kosher ingredients, checking stock, and coordinating with Durban’s leading hotels as well as private individuals. “I love my job,” she beams. “I adore the people, the Yiddisher atmosphere, and being able to provide an important service.”

CALL HER IF… you need world class kosher meals in Durban.

Judy DruckChief Baleboste, Circle Cafe
Menu planning, teaching staff and testing new ideas take up most of Judy’s day. With 40 years’ experience in the food and hospitality, Judy is our own kosher Nigella-leh. “I feel privileged to work in such a wonderful environment, and to know that, ultimately, it is all for a good cause.”

CALL HER IF… you have menu queries, you’d like to host a private function in the DHC’s stylish seminar room, or you want the best cheesecake in town (and we mean THE BEST).

Lihle Nzama and Samke NzamaFront of house team, Circle Cafe
With many years in the service industry between them, these lovely ladies are well skilled to maintain the gleaming, ordered, tranquil atmosphere you know and love. “The Circle is such a nice environment to work in – everyone is always happy,” remarks Lihle. “It’s wonderful getting to know different types of people.” Their talents include serving customers, smiling and making fabulous cappuccinos.

CALL THEM IF… you want to book a table, order a takeout, or grab a coffee to go.

Bridgette Iondo, Smangele Mlambo, Sindisiwe Ngcobo and Nompumelelo TshapaKitchen Crew, Circle Cafe
Under Judy’s guiding arm, these committed ladies produce dish after fabulous kosher dish for the café’s delighted customers. “We’re proud to be part of the Circle,” notes Bridgette. “We know that we are making really good food, and that we’re also supporting the DHC and helping to create a better society for the future.” And for fun? They bake!

CALL THEM IF… you want their secret recipes (but they won’t give them to you!)

Gary PlenMashgiach, Circle Cafe
Gary brings with him high standards and even higher spirits. He’s the one responsible for ensuring that things are ship shape in the Circle Café kitchen and that all food is of a high quality and Kosher standard.

CALL HIM IF… you have any Kashrut queries, or you’d like to take him for coffee and cheesecake at the Circle Café (he deserves it!)