Residents at Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community in Commack remembered and commemorated the victims and survivors of the Holocaust with a candle lighting vigil and ceremony on Jan. 27.
“International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to honor the 6 million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust and those who survived of one of the darkest periods in history,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “It is an especially important day of reflection for our Gurwin residents, many of whom experienced unspeakable atrocities firsthand and are compelled to share their stories.”
During the ceremony, 13 residents were called upon to each light a candle to honor the friends and family who died at the hands of the Nazis. Of the residents that were called up, two shared their personal stories of survival.
At 97 years old, Polish-born Cilia Borenstein vividly recalls the horrors the Nazis perpetrated against her at the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp. She is the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust.
Rose Ashkenazy was eleven years old out the outset of World War II. She and her family fled Poland and lived in the woods near Ukraine to hide from the Nazis, surviving the outdoors on little food and with just the clothing on their backs. Neighboring houses provided small amounts of food for the refugees, helping to keep them alive until the war ended.
“We tell our stories of survival to keep the memories of our loved ones alive and to prevent this from happening again,” said Cilia Borenstein. “There are only a few of us left and it is important to remind others of our experiences during the Holocaust.”