Gross Breesen: Jews Escaping Genocide Through Agricultural Education

Special Exhibition
Free and open to the public

On Display Now Through March 25, 2022
In the Linda Schwab Holocaust Reading Room, Madlyn L. Hanes Library, Penn State Harrisburg

Gross Breesen exhibition

Gross Breesen was created as a training farm by Jewish leadership in the mid 1930s to help Jewish youth immigrate into countries that desired workers skilled in the agricultural sciences. Directing Gross Breesen’s day-to-day activities was Dr. Curt Bondy, a charismatic and brilliant educator who developed an invigorating program that balanced hard physical farm labor with lessons on Jewish life, German history and social philosophy. Bondy also stressed taking responsibility for one’s actions, the importance of teamwork, and giving back to the community. The stability of farm life at Gross Breesen was a welcome respite for a group of 130 Jewish youth who faced the escalating persecution under Nazism. Buoyed by Bondy’s teachings, these youth matured into strong, capable and confident young adults during their time at Gross Breesen. Moreover, these remarkable young men and women were able to escape from Nazi tyranny and achieve later lives filled with family and career success.