Yom HaShoah: Remembering the millions - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Yom HaShoah: Remembering the millions

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This day marks a somber time in world history, Yom HaShoah, the day of remembrance.  

It is a day set aside to reflect on the lives lost during Adolf Hitler's Nazi rule. 

As Hitler rose to power in the early 1930's, he sold the idea of a "pure" German society. 

Millions of Jews were forced from their homes and into work camps. 
There, they faced starvation, disease, and death. 

Although other targeted groups faced the same fate, the Jewish people lost almost six million alone. 
The Holocaust is known as the largest genocide in modern history.

"When this happens, it happens because of people. This isn't a natural disaster," said Annette Small. 

Her parents Sarah, and Al Abraham met these monsters face to face. 

"My mother and father had very different experiences. My father was told by his family members to try to escape what was going on during the Holocaust and he was captured. He was taken to a concentration camp, actually Majdanek death camp, while it was being built. He actually escaped during the night when there were no soldiers looking. He survived thanks to that escape," said Small. 

Sarah was just a child when her family was forced into the Warsaw Ghetto.

After some time her parents and her brother were taken away and killed. 

Sarah worked in various camps making bullets used to kill other Jews. 

Eventually Sarah was liberated by the Russians and World War Two came to an end. 

"When I think about what my parents went through and other victims of the holocaust who were survivors, they had strength and they had will. There was also a lot of resistance," small added. 

Small's father Al, returned to find he and his brother were the only members of his immediate family to survive the horror of Hitler's concentration camps. 

Al and Sarah didn't hold back when it came to teaching their daughters about the pain and suffering, knowing the only way to prevent history from repeating itself was to tell the gruesome tale. 

They say those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. 

Tuesday night Holocaust survivor Aaron Elster, will share his daring escape from the Nazis, including hiding for two-years in an attic. 

It's FREE and begins at 7 p.m. at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. 


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