Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood
Mark wrote the “Beliefs” column for The New York Times from 2010 to 2016. He now hosts a weekly podcast, Unorthodox, produced by Tablet magazine, on which he delivers the News of the Jews to the world, and interviews guests (Jewish and non-Jewish) from Roxane Gay to Simon Doonan, from Transparent’s Kathryn Hahn to Dan Savage. He is most proud to be one of the only writers ever to contribute to both The Christian Century magazine and Playboy. Or maybe of my very brief improv-comedy stint with the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade. His magazine journalism and reviews appear in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Believer, and elsewhere. Mark holds a Ph.D. in religion from Yale and have taught at Yale, Stanford, Wesleyan, Boston College, and NYU and has written two studies of religion and popular culture.
The Story of My Family's Holocaust Survival
Phil shares the story of his father, Joe, and his aunts, Eva and Henny. Joe Koek was born in 1930 in The Hauge, Holland. The Nazis invaded and began to occupy Holland in May 1940. In 1943, Joe’s parents went to the underground and asked the underground to hide Joe and his two sisters. They lived in hiding on the third floor of an apartment/school building for 3-4 months. Joe’s parents went into hiding as well but were discovered, arrested, and then deported to Auschwitz. In fear that his parents might give up their location under interrogation, the underground moved the children to a temporary hiding location in Haarlem, Holland. Joe and his sisters were separated, and Joe was brought to a farm in Zvenhuizen, Holland, to live/hide with a couple as their “distant cousin visiting from Amsterdam.” While hiding on the farm, Joe changed his name and lived under a false identity as a Protestant. In the fall of 1944, Joe broke his leg on the farm and spent 8 weeks in the hospital. While Joe was in the hospital, the Nazis came to Zvenhuizen and liquidated the town. The underground moved Joe to a temporary hiding place and finally to a home in Oosterzee, where he stayed until liberation. Joe reunited with his sisters at a Jewish orphanage, where he spent 6 years. His mother and father perished in Auschwitz.