Holocaust survivors and residents living at Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community in Commack paid homage to the victims of the Holocaust with a candle lighting vigil on Friday, January 26 in advance of Saturday’s commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Today’s ceremony honors the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau,” said Dina McDougald, Assistant Administrator at Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences. “Over the years we have been honored to care for many Holocaust survivors and are privileged to currently have 13 such residents in our care. As time passes, the numbers of those who can recount their experiences are dwindling. Each year we share their stories as a reminder of the effects of indifference to hatred, in the hope that these atrocities never happen again.”
Among the survivors living at Gurwin is Polish-born Cilia Borenstein. At 97 years old, Cilia vividly recalls her encampment at Auschwitz and the brutality of the Nazis. The only member of her family to survive, Cilia holds their memories in her heart, telling their story so that the world will never forget.
Despite the horrors perpetrated against her, Cilia chooses to see the beauty in life and people and is thankful for the gifts she was given. Her faith buoyed her spirits throughout her days at Auschwitz, “God came to me in the worst times and helped me to survive,” she said.
The memorial ceremony was led by Gurwin Assisted Living’s staff and chaplain Rabbi Israel Rimler, who called upon residents to each light a candle in remembrance of the friends and family who died at the hands of the Nazis.