More than 100 people honored the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis at the 40th Annual State of Connecticut Holocaust Commemoration held in the state Senate Chamber at the State Capitol on Friday afternoon, April 27. The commemoration featured as keynote speaker Fairfield resident and Holocaust survivor Betty Deutsch, who recalled the night her family arrived from Hungary at Auschwitz Birkenau. She recounted how her father, one of the only ones tall enough to see out the upper window of the train, looked out and saw the belching smokestacks. “We came to hell,” he told his family. She described alighting the train only to see the piles of dead bodies looking like mountains.
Prior to the commemoration, the film “Etched in Glass” was shown in the legislative offices in order to promote Senate Bill 452 which adds Holocaust and Genocide Education to the state’s public school social studies curriculum.
The commemoration began with an invocation delivered by Rev. Alida Ward of Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, and included a musical interlude by Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray of Congregation Shir Shalom in Ridgefield, accompanied by violinist Rayhan Pasternak. Rabbi Marcelo Kormis of Congregation Beth El in Fairfield closed the ceremony with a benediction.
This year’s ceremony was chaired by Adele Jacobs, who is also vice president of Voices of Hope, an organization for children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. “What we must remember together…this is what hatred can do,” said Jacobs. “Tell the world that Connecticut is no place for hate.”
CAP: Six memorial candles, representing the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, were lit by six Holocaust survivors living today in Connecticut. They are (l to r): Gisela Adamski, Betty Deutsch, Manny Lobel, Julius Schenker, Esia Friedman, Sara Aldouby.