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May 10, 1985 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-05-10

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Friday, May 10, 1985


B'nai B'rith Youth
members face their
forthcoming trip to
West Germany with
excitement and


Local News Editor

Arnie Weiner, center, discusses the
itinerary of the youth exchange with
Beth Katkowsky, left, and Steve


It conjures up all kinds of nasty
images. War. Death camps. Destruc-
But 30 Michigan Jewish and West
German high school students are
going to try and change that image
this summer when they participate in
a cultural exchange arranged by the
B'nai B'rith Youth Organization and
the European Exchange Services.
Aimed at achieving a better
understanding between two cultures,
the trip, scheduled from July 4 to 25 in
Frankfurt and July 31-Aug. 20 in the
U.S., will include a "family experi-
ence," special programs and seminars
and visits to major points of interest.
The BBYO participants are re-
sponsible for their own airfare, insur-
ance and spending money. Subsidies
were obtained from the U.S. Informa-
tion Agency and the West Germany
Ministry of Youth, Family and Health.
The program is a pilot project, ac-
cording to Arnie Weiner, BBYO
Michigan Region executive director,
who will be the adult chaperone for the
teens when they visit Frankfurt. He
also will direct the program when the
West German kids come to the U.S.
Weiner said that one aspect of the
program is to expose the students to

the challenges faced by teenagers in
the U.S. and West Germany. Another
aspect is to introduce American teens
to Jewish contributions in European
Two of the 11 who have signed up
to go — Beth Katkowsky, an 11th
grader at Berkley High School, and
Steve Nakisher, a tenth grader at
West Bloomfield High School — have
their own ideas about what they want
to show their West German counter-
"I will tell them how good it is,
how good America is," Steve said. Beth
will emphasize the freedoms Amen-
cans hold dear. "It's something you
take for granted a lot."
Beth said she would like to show
the West German teens the downtown
Detroit area, while Steve would "show
them a little bit of everything."
The schedule is pretty hectic, but
there is time for the teens to socialize
without the whole group. According to
Weiner, the August schedule for the
visiting West German youths includes
a visit to Detroit's Holocaust Memorial
Center, Niagara Falls, the Chicago
Museum of Science and Industry. the
. BBYO group will visit Bonn, Munich,
Dachau, Wurtzburg and meet with
Zionist youth groups.

Prior to the trip, each group will
participate in a series of orientation
meetings. The Detroiters will study
the history of B'nai B'rith in Germany,
German history since World War II,
German youth, current events in
Germany, common German ex-
pressions and "do's and don'ts." A fam-
ily interview also will be completed
prior to the trip.
Both Beth and Steve said their
families are supportive of their deci-
sions to go to West Germany. The
daughter of Harry and Susie Kat-
kowsky of Oak Park, Beth said her
parents were "both really excited.
They thought it would really be a good
opportunity." Steve, the son of Hazel
and Len Nakisher of West Bloomfield,
said his family is "pushing all the
Weiner said that despite negative
views Jews still hold about Germany's
heinous activities in World War II, the
parents were willing to let their chil-
dren take the trip. However, some of
Beth's and Steven's friends had mixed
emotions. Beth said her friends didn't
want her to go, and she admitted that
she was a little frightened at first. "It
scared me when I first thought about
it," she said, but later rationalized,

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