Gathering to honor Holocaust victims and survivors

Gathering to honor Holocaust victims and survivors

BEACHWOOD, OH (WOIO) - A somber reminder of the atrocities of the past on this Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Hundreds gathered at the Kol Israel Foundation's Yom Hashoah V'Hagvurah at Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood to remember those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and honor the survivors.

Judith Shamir was born in Hungary during World War II.

As a baby, a Christian woman took her in, helping her escape the Nazis.

"I was one of the fortunate ones, my mother came back, as did my father and we were reunited," said Shamir.

Stories like Shamir's brought tears from those around her, along with feelings of hope.

Shamir lit a candle with five other survivors, thinking of the woman who saved her.

They were reunited years ago.

"She actually saved much more than me. We have a saying in the Jewish community, 'he who saves a soul, it's as if he saved the whole world,'" said Shamir.

The seventh candle was lit by a World War II veteran.

"We did a lot of bombing of factories, all the stuff that helped end the war."

Will Freiberg calls the survivors he knows and loves "family."

Jewish himself, he could barely describe what it felt like to help free them.

"What happened there was horrible, and to be a part of helping was good," said Freiberg through tears.

Shamir can't remember much from those days, but she is doing her best to make sure stories like hers live on through future generations.

"It's very important for us to learn the lessons of what happened when prejudice and bigotry were unleashed on the world," said Shamir.

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