The Holocaust Remembered

Students, faculty, and members of the Jewish community gathered at St. John’s on Friday for Jewish Heritage Day to honor those who were lost during the Holocaust.

The event, entitled “A Day of Rememberance… the Second Generation Speaks,” was presented by the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives of Queensborough Community College, Queens Jewish Community Council, Queens Jewish Historical Society and Skyline Commons. The speakers included Holocaust survivor Bernard Gotfryd, Cynthia Zalisky, the Executive Director of the Queens Jewish Community Center, and Dr. Arthur Flug, the Executive Director
of the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives of Queensborough Community College.

Dr. Arthur Flug relayed the story of a woman he met who had spent time in a concentration camp.

“We were stacking bodies,” he said. “It was raining ice and it froze over the bodies.

“Every time we threw another body on top, one would slip out and we would have to throw it back on top. It was never ending.” He continued, “The whole time there was a German guard standing there, watching us, laughing at us,” he explained. “I decided that I would get a gun and six bullets and shoot his mother, his father, and their four children. But then,” he explained, “I soon realized that I would be the same as them.”

Cynthia Zalisky stressed the importance of continuing to pass down stories to the next generation so that the Holocaust does not repeat itself. To cement this thought, she retold a story her mother told her.

“My mother was in [the Jewish ghetto] Kovno,” she said. “It was winter and a girl was going to be hung. She had wrapped her feet in cardboard to keep them from getting
frostbitten and for that she was going to be executed.” She added, “As she stood on the
platform in the middle of the ghetto she turned around…and told every one in Yiddish, ‘Don’t forget me.'”

Members of the audience were thoroughly moved by the speeches given at the event.

“Experiencing the history [of the Holocaust] through stories tells you more,” said senior Ele Kaloutarob. “You see the emotion, you feel the experience.”