CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Today is a somber day across the nation, as the millions of men, women and children who died during the Holocaust are being remembered.
Tonight, special effort is being made to tell the stories of the Holocaust victims.
“We right now are the first generation, the first group of people who are charged with trying to convey the lessons and teach the reality of what happened during that time period without the benefit of actual survivors,” says Laurent Levy.
Levy says his mom was a refugee and then later ended up in Belgium.
“There’s a reality to knowing that you are truly fearing for your life – we see it on TV, we see it on movies.”
And some have gone to visit the place where victims died:
“I did do a trip to Auschwitz and as we were walking out of Auschwitz, one of my children actually said to me ‘you know, I get to walk out of here freely. If I was here during that time, I most likely would have never left this place,'” says Marc Slotnick, Chairperson for the WV Commission on Holocaust Education.
That’s why each April 8th, Yom HaShoah – more commonly known as “Holocaust Memorial Day”, is honored.
“We’ve been able to have all the rabbis across the state participate together in order to memorialize the horrible tragedy during World War 2,” remarks Slotnick.
Usually, a service of remembrance is held in person, but due to COVID-19, a virtual service is being held this year.
“We continue to tell the stories about Auschwitz, about Barcalow, about Decal – about what happened. People died in gas chambers, people arrived on trains, didn’t know where they were going and once they got off the train went exactly to the gas chambers,” says Slotnick.
Since many of the survivors are not around to tell their stories anymore, it’s important that the living make sure the knowledge doesn’t disappear.
The service begins at 7 p.m., where Governor Jim Justice will have a message for the public.