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Greenwich Gathers At Temple Sholom To Keep Stories Of The Holocaust Alive

Musicians perform during the annual Holocaust commemoration at Temple Sholom on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Rabbi Mitchell Hurvitz speaks during the Holocaust commemoration at Temple Sholom Wednesday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
A Holocaust commemoration was held at Greenwich's Temple Sholom on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

GREENWICH, Conn. -- It's been nearly seven decades since the end of World War II, when the horrors committed by the Nazis against Jews, Poles, Russians and others were discovered. At an event at Temple Shalom in Greenwich, the 6 million people lost in the Holocaust were remembered and honored.

Greenwich Selectman John Toner said that as the years pass and memories dim, it's important to remember what happened, even as some deny the Holocaust even occurred.

"The farther you get away from something, the easier it is to forget it," Toner said. "There are forces that are saying that this really didn't happen."

The evening included the screening of the documentary "Numbered," in which Auschwitz survivors discuss the significance of their numbered tattoos.

"It's important to have movies like this, to have commemoration ceremonies like this, to keep it in front of people," Toner said.

Greenwich resident Ariel Manacher echoed Toner's sentiments.

"For our youth, they really don't understand it. Those of us who are over 50 or 60 understand it, but it's becoming ancient history for others who are younger and they don't really grasp it," Manacher said.

Manacher said showing documentaries such as "Numbered" in schools would be an important vehicle to teach young people about the Holocaust.

Weston's Agnes Vertes, a Holocaust survivor, also spoke. She was kept safe after her family sent into hiding as a young child in Hungary in 1944-45 as Germans deported all the Jews they could find to concentration camps.

"There were 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust, and I am their voice," Vertes told about 100 people gathered in the sanctuary at Temple Sholom.

Vertes had a hard time shaking the guilt of wondering why she survived when so many children – a million and a half -- were murdered. She is now president of the Holocaust Child Survivors of Connecticut and is a longtime Shoah Foundation interviewer. (Read more about her story of survival here on the Daily Voice.)

The event was a collaboration of the UJA/Greenwich and the JCC/Greenwich, said Leah Schechter, assistant director of JCC/Greenwich.

"At a time when we are losing survivors every year, it is so important that we engage the next generation by retelling the stories and finding new and different ways to keep the memory alive," Schechter said.

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