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Grubman Teaching Trunk

The Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College invites you to participate in the Grubman Teaching Trunk Program. The Trunk is designed to honor the memory of Simon Grubman, a survivor of the Lodz ghetto and other Nazi camps. The Grubman family has been a longtime supporter of the Cohen Center’s work. Their gifts allowed the Cohen Center to develop the extensive Grubman Children’s book collection now located in the Charles and Judith Hildebrandt Collection in the Mason Library at Keene State College.


Cohen Center Fellow Michele Thomas is your direct contact person once you have registered to use the Trunk using our online form below. Michele will bring the Trunk to your school and assist you in its use. Michele Thomas: 603-673-7037.

The story behind the Grubman Teaching Trunk

Simon & Sally Grubman

Simon Grubman was born in Lodz, Poland in 1919. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 he was imprisoned in the Lodz ghetto where he became a counselor taking care of young children and teenagers in an orphanage school in the Marysin camp within the ghetto. After Marysin was destroyed the Lodz ghetto was later liquidated and Simon was imprisoned in a slave labor factories. Simon was later deported to Auschwitz in Poland and then to Germany where he was liberated by Allied forces. After liberation, Simon met his wife to be, Sally, another Holocaust survivor born in Lodz. Sally had survived numerous Nazi concentration camps. This trunk is dedicated to the memory of the Grubman family and the children of the Marysin camp they sought to counsel, teach, and give hope. We are honored that their son, Dr. Jim Grubman, himself a family counselor and benefactor of the Cohen Center, has supported us in the development of this trunk.

This Trunk is designed specifically for middle school educators to assist in teaching a unit on the Holocaust. The Trunk and its lessons have been designed by Cohen Center Fellow Marjorie Margolis and Coordinator of Educational Outreach Tom White and includes dvds, posters, lesson plans, individual books for a variety of reading levels, books for reading groups, and typical household Judaica items.

Grubman Trunk Materials

Procedure and Requirements

Currently the Trunk is available for teachers in New Hampshire and in parts of Vermont. Educators wishing to use the Trunk will complete the on-line request form at the Cohen Center website. The lending period will be four weeks and the Trunk will be distributed on a first come first serve basis. To ensure the maximum benefit in the use of the Trunk a Cohen Center Fellow will serve as docent by personally delivering the Trunk and provide teacher training in its use. The docent will have the teacher(s) sign off on a Trunk content checklist. Upon completion of the loan, the docent will again go through a checklist to ensure the contents of the trunk. Missing materials will be the responsibility of the school.

Since the trunk is rather heavy, participating schools should provide one or two people on site to unload/load the Trunk for the docent.

Grubman Trunk

The Trunk is a work in progress, continually evolving as we receive feedback from teachers and students who use it. We ask teachers to share their own lessons for the trunk and encourage students to reflect upon what it means to become a witness to the Grubman family history. As Simon Grubman wished to survive in order to bear witness, your students will carry that wish and legacy into the future. Elie Wiesel noted, “Whoever listens to a witness, becomes a witness.”

It is important to the Cohen Center and the Grubman family that you share your experience. As an expression of this responsibility we ask that you:

  1. Write letter(s) to the Grubman family that the Cohen Center will forward
  2. Provide photographs of the Trunk being used by students
  3. Complete a culminating activity where students sign for the Trunk and share what it means to remember and become witnesses. A final evaluation form will be completed by the teacher.

Reserve the Grubman Trunk

There is no fee to borrow the Grubman Trunk. However, we ask schools to provide mileage reimbursement for the docent. Any donations to maintain the Grubman Trunk are welcome and appreciated.

Checks to:

Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
229 Main Street
Keene, NH 03435-3201 

Thank you for studying and bearing witness to the Holocaust in the hope that present and future generations take responsibility for building a world free of antisemitism, intolerance, and hate.

Contact the Cohen Center

Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Keene State College

229 Main Street

Keene, NH 03435-3201
☎ 603-358-2490