BY KRISTEN URBAN
On Nov 5, Philippe Dumouline, a former student, returned to educate the students on his experience coming to America from Haiti to pursue his education and show the video project he made on the holocaust when he attended the County College of Morris in 1990. Almost every seat was filled for his presentation on Dumouline’s experiences at CCM 15 years ago.
“When I lived in Haiti in Dec of 1987, Haiti was in a situation where political climate was not about education,” said Dumouline.
“I was trying to pursue my career in broadcast journalism, which was not an option for me in Haiti. So I decided to leave and go to the US to get an education and I came to Dover, NJ.”
Dumouline explained how he settled in Morristown, NJ and decided to enroll at CCM. In his world history class, he met elderly classmate Erich Katzinstin. Dumouline said that one day they were talking about the Holocaust and Katzinstin mentioned how he had lived through that time in history. Dumouline instantly became intrigued to learn more about Katzinstin’s story.
“After class I started talking to him and we talked for hours that he even missed his bus home, so I offered to give him a ride home,” said Dumouline. “I then asked him if I could film him and tell his story.”
Dumouline said that Katzinstin agreed to share his story and on April 19, 1990, the video was shot and broadcasted everywhere on campus. The name of the film was “Nie Wieder,” meaning ‘never again’ in German. Every student watched in silence when Dumouline put his film on. It started in Katzinstin’s home where the interview took place. Katzinstin started explaining where he lived in Germany, his social life, and showed pictures of him and his family back in Germany.
“Hitler’s policy was to destroy Jewish business, and blamed the economic hard times on Jewish business,” said Katzinstin. “In Nov of 1938, that was the beginning of the Nazi final solution.”
Katzinstin explained how all Jewish stores were damaged, synagogues were destroyed and many Jewish men were arrested and later on taken to concentration camps. Dumouline put clips of these acts going on in Germany during this time into his video.
“A storm trooper allowed me to stay at his house, and I felt there was no future for me and I started crying,” said Katzinstin.
Katzinstin said that that’s when he realized he needed to get out of Germany.
“I was fortunate enough some business friend of mine offered me to stay in England for nine months until my visa for America was approved.”
Katzinstin said how his passport allowed him to leave Germany but it was stamped ‘Jew,’ so that meant he could never return.
“I never wanted to return to Germany after that… Leaving your homeland, leaving your parents, it’s hard to know that you will never see your parents again,” said Katzinstin.
Katzinstin explained how both of his parents were arrested in 1940 and put into concentration camps, where they eventually passed away. In Jan of 1940, Katzinstin said he arrived in New York City and eventually relocated to Morristown, NJ.
The end of the video had Katzinstin and Dumouline in the classroom with Katzinstin telling the class how much he appreciated what Dumouline had done for him in sharing his story.
Every student a faculty member gave a round of applause for this emotional video. Dumouline then gave an update on Katzinstin’s work with equal rights activism and how he passed away in Sept 1993 and donated his body to science. Dumouline then took a Q and A where students and professors asked him many questions where Dumouline revealed that he had a connection with Katzinstin going through similar pain in having to leave their homeland to survive.