There is a renewed effort to share stories about the atrocities of Nazi Germany, on behalf of a disappearing generation of survivors. Sons and daughters of those survivors are now explaining what their parents saw, heard, and felt, during the Holocaust
“My enemy today is time,” said Henry Friedman, board president emeritus for the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle.
Friedman can still describe living in a Polish ghetto, hiding in a barn to avoid the death camps, and slowly starving before liberation.
“It took us many years, Holocaust survivors, to be able to speak, to get over the pain that was inside us,” he said.
Friedman and others gathered at Seattle's Holocaust Center for Humanity to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, Sunday. But who will tell their stories when they’re gone?
“I felt like it was a heavy responsibility that needed to be done,” said Jack Schaloum, whose mother, Magda Schaloum was a Holocaust survivor.
"I felt like it was my duty to make time to make sure this is done," he said.
Schaloum now visits schools and talks on behalf of his late mother.
“The thank you notes I get and the notes I get after I speak, they're just amazing,” he said.
He and Ingrid Steppic are what are called legacy speakers, keepers of their family stories, who picked up where their parents left off.
“I didn't do this years ago, I was busy raising my own family, but later I realized that if we don't tell the stories, they get lost,” Steppic said.
They may not have the same painful perspective, but the message endures.
“The most important thing is not to hate,” Friedman said.
The Holocaust Center for Humanity provides speakers to schools, organizations, and other groups all across the Pacific Northwest, free of charge. More information here.