Special Kristallnacht Commemoration Program
Original Program Date: November 9, 2021
Betty Grebenschikoff (née Ilse Kohn) is a Holocaust Survivor. When her peaceful childhood in Berlin, Germany, was shattered by Nazi violence against Jews, the family was forced to flee to China in 1939. They were just one step ahead of the Gestapo. Shanghai was the only open port at that time that admitted European Jews without visas or passports. It became a place of refuge for about 20,000 refugees.
Grebenschikoff grew up in Shanghai where the family tried to make a living under difficult circumstances. During World War II the Jewish refugees were interned by Japanese authorities in a segregated area of Shanghai, also known as the Shanghai Ghetto. Life became even harder than before.
In 1950, political events in China made yet another escape necessary, this time to Australia. Grebenschikoff finally realized her dream of emigrating to America in 1953.
Betty Grebenschikoff lectures extensively to museums, organizations, schools and colleges. She is featured in two documentary films: Shanghai Ghetto, which premiered in 2002, and the more recently released Survival in Shanghai. She was also a volunteer consultant to the world premiere of Shanghai Sonatas Production, University of Delaware, February 2020.
Once My Name Was Sara – written by Betty Grebenschikoff
Betty Grebenschikoff has reached into the past to write a moving memoir of her experiences as a Holocaust refugee in China. Shanghai was the only port in 1939 that was willing to admit European jews without passports or visas.
Once My Name Was Sara details her family’s flight from Nazi Germany just days before her father’s expected arrest by the Gestapo. With wit and humor she describes her early childhood in Berlin and later growing up in Shanghai, the city that became her home. As stateless Jewish refugees, she and her family were interned in the Hongkew ghetto by Japanese authorities during World War II.
Illustrating an invincible spirit in the face of overwhelming odds, Grebenschikoff’s memoir is a story of hope and survival. To order your copy of Once My Name Was Sara, please click here.
Jennifer R. Grebenschikoff
Jennifer is Betty’s daughter and a 2nd generation Survivor. Jennifer has been in health care management since 1972, and is now an independent consultant specializing in physician leadership and recruitment. She was a Founder and the President of the Physician Executive Leadership Center (PELC), the only firm in the country that specialized exclusively in physician executive search. For over thirty years, PELC worked extensively with organizations to help them recruit senior medical executives.
Prior to founding PELC, Jennifer held management and consulting responsibilities in three HMOs, a large multi-specialty medical group and a medium-sized community hospital. After establishing the Physician Executive Leadership in 1983, Jennifer became an expert on the role and recruitment of physician executives.
For many years, Jennifer regularly taught one day of the American Association for Physician Leadership’s live four-day “Managing Physician Performance” course where her topic was how to successfully recruit and retain the physicians who match an organization’s mission, vision and values. That course is now offered via video and Jennifer was filmed delivering that same content for online viewers. She was a speaker for AAPL, (previously known as ACPE) on this topic for many years, both at its national meetings and for its customized “on-site” programs. Jennifer also regularly served as a panelist on ACPE’s “Recruiters’ Forum,” where she described what client organizations want in a physician executive candidate and how that candidate’s success will be measured on the job. Jennifer continues to provide consulting to individuals seeking career and resume advice and also presents online content to physician groups on resume development and interviewing skills.
In her community, Jennifer serves as Vice President of her local HOA Board and Chair of its Architectural Review Committee (1300 homes). She is also the President of a nearby large community garden (60 raised beds and 100 members). Jennifer is a graduate of Stockton State College in New Jersey and studied in the Masters of Administrative Science program at The Johns Hopkins University.
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