Wednesday, April 10, 2013

San Diego Yom HaShoah Commemoration Makes News

On Sunday, April 7th more than 700 members of the San Diego community gathered at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center for the annual Holocaust commemoration (Yom Hashoah) program. This year’s theme was “Through the Eyes of Children” and focused on the experiences of children who lived through the Holocaust and their many stories of survival.  The program this year saw the largest attendance to date.

The purpose of the commemoration program is to remember the Holocaust, honor our survivors and their families, and teach next generations. The program opened with a military color guard reminiscent of camp liberation, a musical presentation, and a traditional candle lighting ceremony, with candles lit by Holocaust survivors and their descendants in memory of those who perished. Following through with the theme of children, this year’s musical selections involved several outstanding young vocalists and musicians in addition to our traditional musical selections.

Our keynote speaker, Survivor Teresa Racz Fischlowitz shared stories from her experience as a child of the Holocaust and her subsequent survival by being part of a “ransom” plan. Fischlowitz was born in 1937 in Kosice, now Slovakia. She spent her seventh birthday with her family in a cattle car going to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and after being separated from the other prisoners, Teresa was part of a group who interned in Switzerland.  By the time she graduated from high school, she had attended 17 schools in six languages as a result of the need for frequent moves in order to stay safe.

Fischlowitz’s talk was followed by a brief filmed interview of multiple child survivors who endured the atrocities of the Holocaust in very different ways- from hiding in the forest to assuming new identities.

The event is a collaboration of the San Diego Rabbinical Association, Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, the New Life Club, the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS, the Center for Jewish Culture, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Community Foundation, and the Anti-Defamation League.

If you were unable to attend, be sure to watch this moving video featuring our survivors' stories of faith, family and courage.

Additional media coverage below:


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