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holocaust

Photo provided by Rachel Rosen

"I’m named after my mother’s sister who was murdered in Auschwitz,” Rachel Rosen says.

“I was never given a burden but in being told stories about her, you know it transferred to me that I had my life to live but I also had a life to live for someone whose life was snuffed out early.”

Rachel’s mother, Sara Landerer Rosen, survived the Holocaust and World War II in Poland. She later went on to write two books about her experience.

Lou Schneider

In honor of the 75th International Holocaust Day of Remembrance, Nazareth College, in concert with the Louis J. Wolk Jewish Community Center, hosted a commemorative event featuring poetry, excerpts of a locally-produced play, and a panel discussion with Holocaust survivor Warren Heilbronner and others. 

Excerpts were from the play, "Survivors" which is based on testimonies from 10 Rochester-based Holocaust survivors.

Ralph Meranto, artistic director of the Louis J. Wolk Jewish Community Center, said that it's the story of what happens when hate becomes normalized.

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Monday was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where more than one million people, most of them Jews, were murdered by the Nazis.

Those who survived the Holocaust include several people in the Rochester area including Werner Schenk. He was not in Auschwitz, but his grandmother died there and he says many of his relatives in Germany were rounded up and later killed.

TOM MAGNARELLI / WRVO PUBLIC MEDIA

Former Holocaust refugees and their families were among the speakers at an event honoring the 75th anniversary of nearly 1,000 refugees arriving from Europe to Fort Ontario in Oswego during World War II. Fort Ontario was the only emergency shelter for victims of the Holocaust in the United States. 

Linda Cohen is the daughter of two refugees who came from Yugoslavia. She said the camp saved their lives.

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Eva Mozes was 10 years old in May 1944 when she and her twin sister, Miriam, and their family were taken from their hometown in Romania to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

It was just three weeks before Allied forces would turn the tide of the war in Europe in their favor by storming the beach at Normandy, France, on D-Day, June 6.

Eva didn't know about the invasion at the time. "But I sure wish that D-Day would have happened a month earlier," she said. "Maybe the Nazis wouldn't have been able to take us away."

Next week marks 80 years since Kristallnacht -- the Night of Broken Glass -- which is commonly considered the forerunner to the Holocaust. What have we learned since then?

We’re joined by two survivors of the Holocaust who share their remarkable stories, and how they think the lessons of history can apply to the challenges faced by refugees today. In studio:

The Rochester Jewish Film Festival kicks off next week, and one film tells the story of a local Holocaust survivor. Jack Feldman grew up in Poland and was sent to Auschwitz during the war. In the camp, he was known only by his number, A17606. 

The tattoo on his arm caught the attention of his great-grandson, Elliott Saiontz. Saiontz interviews Feldman in the film, “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm.”

We get a preview of the film this hour from Feldman, Saiontz, and Feldman’s granddaughter, Stacey Saiontz. We also hear what else is in the lineup for this year’s festival. In studio:

  • Jack Feldman
  • Stacey Saiontz
  • Elliott Saiontz
  • Bonnie Abrams, director of the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester
  • Andrea Miller, director of the Rochester Jewish Film Festival

We hear the story of a local Holocaust survivor. Helen Levinson was born in Poland and was sent to a concentration camp during the war. She escaped with the help of a Nazi guard, but lost her parents and siblings.

Her remarkable story is part of a new play called "Survivors" at the Jewish Community Center. We hear Levinson's story in her own words. Our guests:

  • Helen Levinson, Holocaust survivor
  • Alexa Scott-Flaherty, actor who portrays Helen in the play, “Survivors”
  • Freyda Schneider, co-producer of "Survivors," and director of TYKEs at the Jewish Community Center

When we discuss the Holocaust and Nazi Germany’s tactics to create a so-called master race, we frequently talk about the atrocities committed in concentration camps. Holocaust survivors have come forward over the years to share their stories, with the hope that by understanding history, we can prevent it from repeating itself. But until recently, there were a number of stories that remained untold or at least, hidden. Those belong to the women who lived under Nazi rule — women whose reproductive rights were stripped away, and who became part of the Nazi Party’s systematic efforts to create an Aryan race.

Scholar Beverley Chalmers spent a decade researching sterilization, sex abuse, rape, and extermination in Nazi Germany for her book, Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women's Voices Under Nazi Rule. She says as difficult as those stories are to hear, we don’t have the right to tune them out. Chalmers is in Rochester this week for several lectures, but first, she’s our guest on Connections. 

WATCH: Remembering the only U.S. refugee center for Holocaust victims

Apr 27, 2017

It’s been said that history has a way of repeating itself. The global refugee crisis of more than 65 million displaced people draws a correlation to one of the darkest times in human history. Today the world is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

As some nations open their borders to refugees escaping conflicts in their homelands, closer to home we remember our past when nearly a thousand refugees from Europe arrived in Oswego, New York in 1944.

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