Local briefs

Painful memories

SPOKANE -- On Sunday, the Temple Beth Shalom will be hosting a memorial service to honor those who perished in the Holocaust -- and those who survived. In Yiddish, the day is called Yom HaShoa.

"We have celebrated this for many years already," says Spokane's Eva Lassman, a Holocaust survivor who will be speaking at the event. "It's actually a whole week of Holocaust remembrance [from April 15-22], and it falls now because on the second day of Passover, in '43, that was when the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto started."

Lassman was born in Lodz, Poland, and was only 20 years old when World War II began.

"My father was from Warsaw, and I was sent there, but my younger brother and father remained in Lodz," says Lassman. That was in December of '39 -- the last time she saw them.

Lassman went on to survive three different concentration camps in Poland, before being liberated by Russian troops after the Germans' retreat. Much of her family was executed, and while at the camps, she saw Jews walk to the gas chambers on a daily basis.

It's estimated that 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews -- mainly minorities that were deemed otherwise "undesirable" by Adolph Hitler -- were killed by the Third Reich.

As hard as it is for her to revisit those years, Lassman has dedicated her life to tell her story.

"I don't want your pity, we've done well for ourselves here, but I want for people to learn a lesson," says Lassman. "It's incomprehensible what one human being can do to another, and it is so hurtful that genocide is still going on. I hope people will listen to me and learn a lesson."

Dr. James Waller, a psychology professor from Whitworth College who studies genocide and prejudice, will also be speaking at the Temple at 1322 E. 30th Ave. on Sunday, April 22 at 7 pm. Free. Call: 747-3304.

Going organic

Coeur d'Alene -- The regional food and farming organization, Rural Roots, is sponsoring a networking lunch and workshop on Thursday, April 26.

"We are an organization made up of small acreage farmers and ranchers, which formed out of a task force back in 1997," says Colette DePhelps, the group's executive director. "Our current programs are focused on direct marketing and education of farmers and ranchers."

Smaller farms typically sell their crop at farmers' markets or through collectives, and at this meeting Diane Green of Greentree Naturals organic farm will give a presentation about how to form a collective.

"People are really interested in this option, since it gives farmers the possibility of buying feed in bulk, even if they are small, and get a better price," says DePhelps.

Also on the program is a presentation on how to run an organic egg farm, and how to become a certified organic farmer in Idaho.

The 53-member group offers farm tours later in the year, and plans to soon have programs for consumers as well.

The brown bag lunch meeting is on Thursday, April 26, from noon-4 pm at the UI Kootenai County Extension office at 106 E. Dalton in Coeur d'Alene. Free. Call: (208) 883-3462.

-- Pia K. Hansen