Bill is a Second Generation Storykeeper who grew up outside of New York City in Flushing, Queens. He lives in New York with his wife, and has three grown children and seven grandchildren.
- Which workshop did he take? Safekeeping Stories of the Holocaust Workshop led by Jill Sarkozi in 2018.
- Who did he write about? His parents, Morris and Frieda Zimmerman, who were from small towns near Czestochowa in southeastern Poland.
After authoring his family’s story in the workshop, Bill embarked on a new challenge: sharing what he wrote with students at Iona College where he has been teaching math and supervising student teachers for over a decade. “I was invited to join the chairperson of the Religious Studies Department, Dr. Elena Procario-Foley, in her course, ‘The Holocaust and The Churches,'” Bill explained.
For many of the students who take the class, it is their first significant learning experience about the Holocaust. The centerpiece of the course is a mid-semester trip to Poland, an immersive experience that includes a week-long stay at an educational center adjacent to Auschwitz/Birkenau and visits to religious and cultural centers in and around Krakow, including the Jewish Community Center.
The students typically find the class to be illuminating and edifying. They walk away with a new understanding of themselves and a greater sense of responsibility in the world.
Not only did Bill contribute a historical perspective on the Holocaust, but a personal one as well. “I participated in the classroom discussions and provided some details about the shtetl life of Eastern European Jews in the first half of the 20th century.”
Toward the end of the course, Bill shared his family story with the students.”It was a deeply engaging and very meaningful experience for the students…and for me.”