Poems, music, remarks in honor of the Holocaust

The ceremony will be dedicated to and include stories from Holocaust survivors.

Heather L. Mueller

At 16, Holocaust survivor Sabina S. Zimering fled a Polish ghetto under a false identity with her younger sister and narrowly escaped death.

“We had several close calls, but on April 27, 1945, the American Army conquered Regensburg (Germany),” Zimering said. “I still remember the GIs yelling, ‘Hitler kaput!’ “

where to go

Holocaust Memorial Ceremony
What: A commemoration of the Holocaust with poems, music and remarks by Holocaust survivor Sabina S. Zimering. Music by Bulgarian cellist Nicolai Kularov.
When: 12:15 to 1 p.m. today
Where: Northrop Plaza

Zimering, 84, moved to Minneapolis in 1950 after becoming a doctor. Now retired, she will share her story of loss, struggle and survival today at Northrop Plaza for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The public remembrance ceremony, hosted by Hillel Jewish Student Center, will also feature a performance by Bulgarian cellist Nicolai Kularov to honor the estimated 50 million people, including 6 million Jews, who were killed more than 60 years ago during World War II.

Among those who lost their lives under Adolf Hitler’s regime were Zimering’s father and mother.

Her mother was murdered in a gas chamber in 1942 and her father was forced to take a “death march” only a few days before liberation in 1945. Zimering, her younger sister and brother survived.

“Whoever lost their lives deserves some respect and attention,” she said.

Nursing sophomore Amir Zadaka, religious chair at Hillel, said even if it’s for 30 seconds, it is important to step back and take a moment to remember.

“It’s even more important every year to go over (the Holocaust) and remember because 10 years from now there won’t be any survivors,” he said.

Hillel Executive Director Sarah Routman said genocide continues around the world, but the effects of the Holocaust are still felt and should be recognized today.

“People often take the Holocaust and say let’s talk about Darfur, let’s talk about Rwanda and other genocides in the world,” she said. “But this commemoration will be dedicated to Holocaust survivors.”

College students today might simultaneously think about current genocides whether the ceremony touches on it, Routman said.

“When we hear from a survivor, we think it’s a message of don’t forget – this stuff really happened,” she said.

For people to hear about the individual risks people took to save themselves and the lives of others conveys a message of hope and perseverance, Rothman said.

“The message is every person can make a difference, however little it seems,” she said. “It’s when each person allows the good in themselves or their own morals and values to take precedence over the evil that’s around them, that’s how we can end up with good in the world.”