By Judie Jacobson ~
HARTFORD — The first thing Anita Schorr did when she approached the podium in the Senate Chambers of the State Capitol in Hartford on Friday, April 20 was look up at the upper level galleries. “I see many young people here,” she said, scanning the groups of students sitting in the balconies to the right and the left, “and it makes my heart full.”
As keynote speaker at the 34th Annual State of Connecticut Holocaust Commemoration, Schorr,
a Fairfield resident and a survivor of several concentration camps, had a special message for the students, who came from several local schools and were among the more than 100 people gathered for the ceremony: “You shouldn’t stay silent. I am asking you for action. You and only you will make it happen.”
Recounting her tortuous experience – including 11 months spent in Auschwitz and the exter-mination of her parents and younger brother – Schorr said, “I kept wondering, isn’t there anyone in
the world who will say ‘stop it’? Nobody in the world stood up and said ‘this is wrong.’ Nobody. The world was silent.
Don’t let that happen again. Remembering is not enough. Step in. Be a hero. It is in our hands.
Schorr’s message echoed the commemoration’s theme: “Choosing to Act: Stories of Rescue.” It was reiterated by others, including Rabbi Daniel Victor of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Bridgeport.
“We are here to honor not only the victims, but also the rescuers … [to focus] not on what can destroy our world, but on what can save it,” he said, in delivering the invocation.
The Holocaust, said Adele Jacobs, chair of the Commemoration planning committee and the daughter of survivors, is not only about Hitler, “but about the many people who helped him – people just like us who made it happen.” We must resolve, she said, “that we as individuals and as communities not let it happen to anyone, anywhere.”
Sponsored by the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) and the UJA/Federation of Eastern Fairfield County, in coordination with several other local Jewish agencies, the commemoration was presided over by State Senator Donald Williams, President Pro Tempore, and included the lighting of memorial candles by survivors.