NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Thursday, hundreds of students marked Holocaust Remembrance day by meeting survivors in Lower Manhattan.
As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, they shared stories of tragedy, strength, and resilience.
“I’m telling these stories in memory of those who can’t tell their stories, my mother and sister who are non-existent,” Aviva Blumberg said.
Blumberg was just a child during the Holocaust. Her mother and sister did not survive.
“I am here because I have blue eyes and a non-Jewish nose and I passed as a non-Jew and that’s how I survived,” she said.
Her father was a journalist for a Yiddish newspaper. In 1939 he was in Switzerland for a meeting and could not get back into Poland. He went to America and spent years trying to find his family.
It took him 6 years to be reunited with Aviva in America. She remembers coming off the boat.
“He was so excited. He pinched me, you know to make sure I was real. I was black and blue for days from those pinches. I understand, he needed to do this. I couldn’t complain,” she said.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell talked with another survivor. Ruth Meador is 84 and escaped from Germany just ahead of the Nazis.
Meador said she tells her story all the time.
“I think it’s important, because there are very few survivors left,” she said.
In the Netherlands, and then in England, Meador was placed with family she had never met. Most of her relatives were sent to death camps.
“My aunt died. My grandparents on both sides died and there was nobody left,” she said.
Meador’s father did survive, and she reconnected with him when she came to the U.S. at age 12.
Other survivors shared stories about how Hitler came to power, and the propaganda that was used to brainwash people, especially children, Ronnie Hamburger showed students a game called “get the Jews out.”
“Small people who could not read yet could play this,” he said.
The Museum of Heritage is a living memorial to the Holocaust.
Aryeh Alter’s grandmother was a survivor, but passed away last year. He said it’s important for everyone to learn and not forget.
“People all over, not only Jews, all races and religions and they learn about the Holocaust. I think it’s a good thing,” he said.
One mother brought her 6-month-old baby to the event telling CBS2’s Hsu that she was afraid that by the time the girl was old enough to learn about the Holocaust she wouldn’t have a chance to meet a survivor.