To remember the six million murdered
Holocaust survivor Ivan P. Vamos will be the guest speaker when Congregation Beth Emeth hosts this year’s community Yom HaShoah Commemoration on Sunday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Vamos was born in March 1938 in Budapest, Hungary, nearly on the same day that Hitler’s troops marched unopposed to take over Austria. Vamos’ father was conscripted into a slave labor battalion that accompanied the Hungarian Army in their invasion of Russia in 1941. Most of these Jewish men, including his father, died or were killed probably by the retreating Hungarians. Shortly thereafter, he went into hiding with his mother. Carrying false papers she and Ivan pretended to be refugees from the Russians, and found lodgings in a rural area until spring, 1944.
In 1944, alarmed by roundups of people in the countryside, Ivan and his mother walked back to Budapest. They arrived at a “protected house,” probably one of the houses under Swedish sponsorship, as bravely arranged by Raoul Wallenberg. They stayed for a few weeks in a very crowded apartment, until a German takeover of the Hungarian government in March, 1944. Avoiding a roundup of Jews, Ivan and his mother once again went into hiding in smoldering ruins for months until Vamos Russians arrived. Vamos immigrated to the U.S. in the fall of 1947.
This program is free and open to the community and is underwritten by the Landsberger-Feigenbaum Fund to impart knowledge of the Holocaust for future generations. Congregation Beth Emeth is at 100 Academy Rd., Albany.
The community Yom Hashoah memorial service will be held at Congregation Gates of Heaven on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 7 p.m. This year’s presentation will be from a four-generational CGOH family, Yetta Fox and her daughter, Jen Price, and grandsons, Sam and Jack Price. Yetta will use excerpts from an interview with Yetta’s parents, Pepa and Joseph Olmer, to tell a story of resistance and survival.
In addition to providing a forum for the survivors and their families to remember, there will be a display of original documents and photographs in the temple museum.
At the JCC Monday
Ernie Wein, a retired social studies teacher who taught in the Schalmont Central School District for more than 25 years, will share his family’s history at the Schenectady JCC
on Monday, April 24, at 11:15 a.m., 2565 Balltown Road in Niskayuna.
“My father’s family lived in Warsaw when the Nazis invaded and occupied,” said Wein. “My father and my aunt were the only two of their immediate family to survive the Holocaust. Their personal stories of determination, courage, resourcefulness and their ultimate survival are important to remember and to share.”
Wein grew up in Schenectady as a long-time member of Agudat Achim. He and his family are now members of Congregation Gates of Heaven.
Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah in Hebrew, marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as well as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust, as established by Congress and led by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
To learn more about Remembrance Day events, including the national ceremony in the US Capitol Rotunda and a map of remembrance events around the country, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website at www.ushmm.org/remember.
Hedi McKinley will speak, Sunday, April 23, 7 p.m. at the Knesseth Israel Synagogue, 34 E. Fulton St.
Ms. McKinley was born in Vienna, Austria, and will speak about her experience during the “Night of Broken Glass,” Kristallnacht. She was 18 that night, living with her parents above the small shop they ran, when they heard a knock at their front door that changed their lives forever. She escaped to England and to upstate New York.
McKinley received her Master of Social Work from Columbia University and was Director of Community Service Program at University at Albany.
There will be a special candle lighting service with readings by members of the Fulton County Clergy Association and others from the congregation who are survivors of the Holocaust. Refreshments and a social time will follow the program.
Families in attendance will receive memorial candles to take home. These candles are to be lit and placed in a window to burn as a memorial to those who died during this time.
“We invite the public to be part of remembering all who perished during the Holocaust and to join together to remain vigilant against hatred, persecution and tyranny” said Suzanne Schermerhorn, spiritual leader of Knesseth Israel.