Saturday, January 23, 2021 -
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Cherishing survivors


Fred Englard. Morton Tessler. Riva Weissbrot. Joe Weissbrot. Joe Schwartz. Sara Schwartz. Magda Rosenthal.

These are just some of the survivors I was privileged to be surrounded by as I was growing up.

Some had tattoos on their arms. Some had been in concentration camps. Others in labor camps. Others in hiding.

They have all since passed. And now, Paula Burger.

Some of these survivors spoke about their experiences. Others did not. But they embodied the Jewish story of persecution — and survival. They were a testament not only unto themselves, but to our nation. They were also a voice for the millions who did not survive.

The experience of being surrounded by survivors, hearing their words, feeling their energy, cannot be replaced. But the reality is that it must, because as time marches on, fewer survivors are among us. Mors vincit omnia, death always wins.

That’s why ceremonies like the Mizel Museum’s annual Babi Yar commemoration are so important. Memorials on Yom HaShoah, Yizkor prayers — all of these are the vehicles that will have to transmit the Holocaust. The Jewish community is good at recording, and good at remembering. L’dor v’dor, from generation to generation. We must collectively harness that quality to ensure that stories and lessons we learned from survivors will themselves survive for generations to come.

I am still privileged to know living Holocaust survivors: Cantor Zachary and Trude Kutner. Marian Miklin. Cantor Isaac Koll. Osi Sladek. How fortunate is our community for their presence.

Shana Goldberg may be reached at

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