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What is Holocaust Remembrance Day?

After speaking with Dr. Finley-Croswhite, professor of History at ODU, we asked her a few more questions regarding her studies about the Holocaust. She shared why she works so hard to promote remembrance of the holocaust as well as some heartbreaking accounts of holocaust victims who were children.


What is the significance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day?

International Holocaust Remembrance Day was created in 2005 by the United Nations. That date is so significant because on that date, January 27, 1945 Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated and photographs of the camp were disseminated to the world. 

Why do you study the Holocaust?

I think it is so important to study the fact that via the Nazis and their collaborators, over 6 millions Jews were murdered simply because they were Jews.

What would you like to say today about victims, survivors, and rescuers?  I’d like to emphasize of the 6 millions Jews who died in the Holocaust, 1.5 million were children. 

I’ve included two pictures here of Eva and Leah Munzer and Esther Fersztenfeld, all children who were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau. 

 Eva and Leah were from the Netherlands and initially hidden with a Catholic family.  The father of that family, however, denounced them to the Gestapo along with his wife as well who was a devout Catholic rescuer. Eva and Leah were only eight and six when they were gassed on arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau. 

Similarly, Esther Ferszenfeld, was a French girl from a Jewish family, a teenager during the Holocaust.  She and her parents were arrested in a raid in Paris that sent over 8000 children to Auschwitz-Birkeanu.  When Esther arrived she was sent to the labor camp, but she survived only six weeks and then died from hard labor and exhaustion. 

Luckily Eva and Leah’s younger brother, Dr. Al Munzer survived because of a Muslim family who hid him during the war. (I’ve included a photo of an actual hiding space in the basement of a home in Poland where Jews were hidden by a Catholic family). And Esther’s sister, Marie Magar, survived because she left for London during the 1930s. As a result, we know the personal stories of Eva and Leah and Esther and can remember their precious memories today. 

May their memories always be a blessing.   

To Learn More about the Holocaust and how you can help fight hate and antisemitism please visit this website: www.ushmm.org

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