Today is October 24, 2020; the

Congregation Sons of Abraham

The heart of Jewish life in the La Crosse area for over 100 years

1820 Main Street, La Crosse, WI 54601
(608) 784-2708 |

Yom Hashoah–Holocaust remembrance service and program: Wed., May 1, 7 PM

Yom Hashoah 2019:  Remembering the victims.  Educating future generations.  Reflecting on Holocaust History from America’s Heartland.
Click here for link to event flyer.

Education Funders Maureen and Robert Freedland will Receive This Year’s Holocaust Educator Recognition.

Please join us at Congregation Sons of Abraham’s annual Holocaust Remembrance service on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 7 PM. Maureen and Robert Freedland will be honored for their contributions to excellent Holocaust education with the 14th annual “Wegner Leaf” on CSOA’s Tree of Life.

What is the Wegner Leaf?

The Gregory P. Wegner recognition for Excellence in Holocaust education was established in 2006 at Congregation Sons of Abraham in the name of Dr. Greg Wegner, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, beloved “teacher of teachers,” to honor inspirational educators in our area.  Over the years, recognizing that teachers come from all walks of life, we broadened the definition to include a Belgian eyewitness-resister, a personal historian, an attorney with a passion for teaching about the Shoah, an educational foundation director and a theater company.

Historian Michael Luick-Thrams Will Speak About “The Banality of Virtue: Midwesterners’ Contradictory Responses to the Holocaust.”

80 years ago this spring, Quaker farmers, college students and their supporters in Iowa initiated a sanctuary project, the Scattergood Hostel, and saved 185 European refugees —Jews, political dissidents, intellectuals, artists— from Nazi Terror.  From 1939 to 1943, ordinary citizens realized extraordinary achievements through joint effort.  Now, 80 years later, Jewish, Quaker, academic, and other bodies are commemorating the fates of the refugees, as well as the activism of a small number of Midwesterners who offered them new life.

Professor Michael Luick-Thrams interviewed 40 former “hostelites.”  Through their stories, he will not only share the Scattergood Hostel’s legacy of being what one refugee later honored as a “place of peace in a world of war, a haven amidst a world of hatred.”  He will also show how echoes of hostility toward immigrants, antisemitism and the xenophobia of those times can be heard in America today. 


TRACES is a non-profit educational organization created to gather, preserve, and present stories of people from the Midwest and Germany or Austria who encountered each other during World War II.  Most never thought that many of these stories, laid beneath the dust left in the wake of a World War, touched the American Heartland.  TRACES brushed away that dust, unearthing an amazing legacy.  As we learn about these stories, may we rise above—and eventually defeat—the prejudices, fears and conflicts that otherwise demean and destroy us.