SAN DIEGO — January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It’s the anniversary of the day Jewish people were liberated from the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945 during World War II.
Since 2005, this day has been recognized by the United Nations. On Thursday, the San Diego County Administration Center lit up in blue and white to also commemorate that day of liberation.
On the day of commemoration, people around the world pause to remember the six million Jews who were victims of the Holocaust. The Jewish Federation of San Diego County says teaching people about the Holocaust and antisemitism is one of their highest priorities. Last year, 68% of all hate crimes were against Jewish people.
“It’s an opportunity for us as a society and civilization to take stock of some of, unfortunately, the worst that humanity has to offer. Not so that we dwell in the past but so that we build the future that we want to see,” said Darren Schwartz, Chief Planning & Strategy Officer for the Jewish Federation of San Diego County.
Schwartz said educators and parents can use the Jewish Federation as a resource for learning materials, online videos and guest speakers who are appropriate for all ages. He said having conversations about genocide and hate makes us stronger as people and is something everyone can do.
“We have incredible survivors that are still here in San Diego that are willing to go into the classrooms, willing to come in through Zoom and tell their story,” said Schwartz.
One of those Holocaust survivors is 92-year-old Rose Schindler. She and her husband Max, also a survivor, moved to San Diego in 1956. Schindler began telling her story over 40 years ago. In 2019, she published a book entitled “Two Who Survived: Keeping Hope Alive While Surviving the Holocaust.”
“I would never add anything to it that’s not true. Some of it was so true and so bad, I couldn't even put it in the book. You know that because people would pass out. I mean nobody can imagine what we went through, what Auschwitz was,” Schindler said
Schindler says January 27 is not a special day for her and frankly, the entire experience is something she would rather forget.
“The less I think it about the past, the better off I am sometimes. Because if I think too much about it, I end up staying in the house, I don’t go anywhere. I keep thinking, 'where was God when this was happening? Why didn’t he try to help us? Why didn’t the whole world try to help us? Just because we were born Jewish?'” Schindler said.
Shindler said she’ll continue to speak about her experience and also has a YouTube channel.
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