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Queens Chronicle

Commemorations set for remembrance day

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Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 12:00 am

From Friday until the end of April, area Jewish organizations will be paying tribute to the 6 million Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust during World War II.

Yom Hashoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, is set for April 21, but events will begin sooner and go on for much longer in Queens.

It is a time when survivors of the Holocaust give testimony about the events they lived through during the Nazi regime. It also honors the memory of those who perished in the concentration camps.

All programs are open to the public for this 46th commemoration.

Ethel Katz, a Holocaust survivor, will lead off the events by speaking during a service at the Reform Temple of Forest Hills, 71-11 112th St., at 8 p.m. on Friday. The author of “Our Tomorrows Never Came,” Katz was a teenager in Poland at the start of the war. Her parents, five siblings and entire extended family were murdered by the Nazis. She went into hiding and was able to survive with the help of Jews and non-Jews.

The Rosedale Jewish Center, 247-11 Francis Lewis Blvd., will host a joint Yom Hashoah program with Temple Gates of Zion and Elmont Jewish Center on Sunday at 11 a.m. Abraham Getman, author of “Borders of Hope” will speak on his experiences as a child refugee living in the streets of the Ukraine after his parents were killed in the Holocaust.

Werner Kleeman, author of “From Dachau to D-Day,” will speak at a commemoration by the Jewish Center of Oak Hills, 50-35 Cloverdale Blvd., Bayside on Sunday at 7 p.m. Kleeman, a German, came to the United States and fought with allied troops at D-Day and returned to his hometown as a U.S. soldier.

The synagogues of the northeast Queens area announce their annual communitywide Yom Hashoah program on Sunday at 7:15 p.m. at the Lake Success Jewish Center, 354 Lakeville Road, Great Neck. Participating are the Bellerose Jewish Center and Young Israel of New Hyde Park.

The program will include a speech by Arthur Flug, executive director of the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives at Queensborough Community College; showing the film, “Daniel’s Story,” for children with a discussion by Holocaust survivor Hanne Liebmann and an exhibit titled “GI’s Remember.”

The Central Queens YM & YWHA, 67-09 108th St., Forest Hills will commemorate the remembrance day with a talk by Thomas Buergenthal on Monday at 1:30 p.m. He will discuss his memoir, “A Lucky Child,” on his childhood when he was forced into living in ghettos and labor camps, Auschwitz and the final death marches. He was liberated at age 10 and only one of three children to survive the death marches.

Buergenthal, who was born in Czechoslovakia, currently serves as the American judge at the International Court of Justice at the Hague, Netherlands and has devoted his life to human rights laws. There is a $4.50 suggested donation for the program.

Senta Seligman, whose grandparents were killed in the Holocaust, will speak at the Rockwood Park Jewish Center, 156-45 84th St. in Howard Beach on Monday at 7 p.m. Participants are asked to enter through the glass doors in the center’s 85th Street parking lot.

Also on Monday, at 8 p.m. Young Israel of Forest Hills, 7100 Yellowstone Blvd., will host a commemoration. It will include a video featuring remembrances of survivors and experiences of students and others who participated in programs aimed at better understanding the Holocaust.

The Whitestone Hebrew Centre, 12-45 Clintonville St. will hold a special Yom Hashoah service at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Consul General Krzystof Kasprzyk of the Republic of Poland will speak on “Polish-Jewish Dialogue: Difficult Questions, Promising Answers” on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.at the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills, 71-25 Main St. During his tenure as consul general in the New York area, Kasprzyk has been involved in promoting better relations between Poland and the Jewish community in the metropolitan area.

On Friday, April 24, Imam Shamsi Ali, leader of the Islamic Center of New York as well as mosques in Jamaica and Astoria, will attend a Yom Hashoah program at the Free Synagogue of Flushing, 41-60 Kissena Blvd. at 8 p.m. He will speak on the essence of Islam with a focus on the Holocaust and its meaning to all people.

The Briarwood Jewish Center, 139-06 86th Ave., will present the film, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and a candlelighting ceremony on April 26 at 10:30 a.m. The program will end with a salute to Israel Independence Day.

Temple Torah of Little Neck, 54-27 Little Neck Parkway, is hosting a talk by Hannah Lieberman on April 28 at 7 p.m. Also participating in the Holocaust program are the Marathon Jewish Center of Douglaston and the Little Neck Jewish Center.

Welcome to the discussion.