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The atrocities they endured. The millions of lives lost. The lesson learned. #IAmMemory
Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach to remember through stories, songs and prayers the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust and those who survived, as a way to bridge the gap between old and young.
“As survivors are no longer able to tell their stories first hand, we think it’s an obligation as a community to see to it that generations to come have the facts and the personal exposure to these stories,” said Jacob Solomon, the president of Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
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The annual Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day — which begins Wednesday at sundown — began with a procession of teens and Holocaust survivors and included a first hand account from David Schaecter, 88, who was 11 when he was taken from his family’s Slovakian farm. He broke down as he spoke of lost opportunity for the one and a half million children who were killed.
“They are no more,” he said. “Can you imagine if these children were given a chance to live? The heights they would’ve reached. The contributions they could’ve made.”
This year’s ceremony came on the same day many, including Schaecter, were leaving for Poland for the March of Living, an educational program that gives teens and adults a glimpse of the horror endured during the Nazi regime.
It also comes a week before the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is set to embark on its biggest mission trip in its history — more than 800 people from Miami-Dade will head to Israel for the Jewish state’s 70th anniversary. A mission, which will also span generations.
“This is a great way to put us in the right mindset for the trip,” said Keith Bonwitt, 18, who is going on the March of the Living. “It’s important for me to go and see what happened to help put everything into perspective.”