Yaffa Eliach (née Sonenson) was born on May 31, 1935 in Eišiškès, Lithuania. She was just six years old when German soldiers invaded her hometown and massacred the Jewish population. Yaffa and her family survived in hiding, and after WWII Yaffa moved to Israel, where she spent the rest of her childhood and met her husband, David Eliach. The couple moved to New York City in 1954, where Yaffa earned her Ph.D. and became a professor at Brooklyn College. Then, in 1974, Dr. Eliach opened the Center for Holocaust Studies, Documentation and Research–the first organization in the United States dedicated to the study of the Holocaust. This groundbreaking project merged with the Museum on August 2, 1990, and thanks to the Center’s impressive community outreach, its collection provided a robust and unique collection of materials to the Museum and the world.

Join the Museum for a discussion about Yaffa Eliach’s life and work with her daughter, Smadar Rosensweig.

Smadar Rosensweig is a world-renowned Jewish Educator and Lecturer in Bible. She is a Clinical Associate Professor of Bible and Judaic Studies at Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University. Professor Rosensweig received her B.A. from Barnard College and her M.A. and M. Phil from Columbia University in Jewish History, where she studied under Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and was a Presidential Fellow. Previously, she was a Professor of Judaic Studies at Lander College for Women, Touro College.