During an annual Yom Hashoah Holocaust Memorial, residents of North Shore Towers gathered in the VIP Room to pay tribute to survivors while also lighting candles in memory of those lives that were lost during the Holocaust.
The memorial, which was held on Tuesday, April 21, was organized by Towers resident and Holocaust survivor Manek Werdiger.
Rabbi Michael Klayman of the Lake Success Jewish Center delivered the invocation. After reading a quote from the 10 Commandments, Klayman said that it would be false witness for him to offer words to survivors.
“I did not and do not bear your pain, and cannot speak about an unspeakable pain, which only a survivor can understand,” he said.
However, Klayman said that his generation and younger generations could still bear witness to the stories told by survivors. He also encouraged survivors to share their testimony, whether by speaking or writing about their experiences.
“You are the witnesses,” Klayman said. “We need to continue to learn from you.”
Resident Marty Silver played musical selections during the event and resident Eneas Arkawy read excerpts from the diary of Anne Frank. Also, portions of “Schindler’s List” were shown.
This year, children of survivors lit the candles in memory of those who died during the Holocaust. They were Nancy Jacobs, daughter of Stefa and Morris Jacobs; Steven Radwan, son of Genia and Henry Radwan; Miki Kagan, daughter of Robert and Ilse Kagan; Shelder Werdiger, son of Ilona and Manek Werdiger; Robert Dienstag, son of Marcus and Jolana Dienstag; James Zellner, son of Anna and Larry Zellner; and Philip Wilner, son of Henry and Frieda Wilner.
Steven Radwan and Ilona Werdiger also lit smaller candles in honor of the 1.5 million children who were killed during the Holocaust.
In continuing with focusing on second generation survivors, Irene S. Steiner, whose parents are both survivors from Poland, spoke. Her grandparents, uncles and various other relatives were killed during the Holocaust.
“Although I am only a child of Holocaust survivors…my life has been profoundly effected by the experiences and suffering of my parents and their loves ones,” Steiner said. “I also see the effects carried on in my children – third generation survivors who are passionate about human rights and genocide issues.”
Steiner, a formally trained singer and lawyer, spoke about sensing her family was different as she was growing up and how she did not talk about the past with her parents. She also detailed how the past became more real for her and impacted her life, including getting to the point where she began talking to her parents about their experiences. She also eventually put Holocaust poems to music, along with doing other composing.
In concluding her remarks, Steiner suggested third generation survivors to ask questions about what happened. She also asked survivors and second generation survivors to tell future generations about what happened during the Holocaust.