On Holocaust Remembrance Day, survivor urges community to ‘never forget’

Dozens of people gathered at Temple Beth-El for the solemn community observance on Monday.

SAN ANTONIO — On Monday, many gathered at Temple Beth-El to remember millions of Jewish people who were murdered during the Holocaust.

Guest speaker, Ivan Wilzig, detailed his father’s struggles after surviving Auschwitz. 

Six candles were lit to symbolize the six million Jewish victims killed by Nazi Germany.

“As dark a period it was in our history, we light candles to show one spark of light can push away all the darkness,” said Nammie Ichilov, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio.

Holocaust survivors were among those who attended the local observance.

“I am from Hungary,” said Susanne Jalnos. “I came to Auschwitz on Jun. 6, 1944. D Day, with my parents and 40 to 50 family members. Very few survived. I was there for six weeks and after that, I went to a labor camp and worked in a munitions factory. We never lost faith in God, we knew when the Jewish holidays were. We knew God did not do this; man did.”

Jalnos, 97, says speaking multiple languages, including German, helped save her life. While most of her family was killed by the Nazi regime, Jalnos was reunited with her brother and sister in San Antonio in 1949.

She spent most of her life speaking at schools and serving as living history at the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio.

Jalnos fears history is doomed to repeat itself if society loses sight of the human atrocities committed during World War II.

“Never forget,” she said. “If you see something that’s wrong, speak up. Don’t be a bystander. Don’t just stand there and do nothing.”

“So many people stood by, so many people did nothing,” said Ichilov. “As Elie Wiesel said, ‘The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.’ Too many people stood by and didn’t do anything and allowed that hate to fester. There’s a lot of incidents where Jews are singled out. The reality is it never stops with the Jews. Throughout history, it has never stopped with them. It has always gone to another minority and another group. Eventually, the individuals that promote the hate try to expel all people of other ideology.”

To learn more, visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website by clicking HERE.

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