The 29th Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day was hosted this morning at Newark Museum. This year’s observance was attended by students of Newark Public Schools and Catholic School students who are studying the Holocaust as part of their curriculum.
The keynote speaker was Ruth Ravina, a Polish Jew who survived being herded into a ghetto, imprisoned in labor and concentration camps, enduring starvation, being protected by her determined mother, Pola Luksenburg Kolb. As a child, Ms. Ravina was smuggled out of a labor camp in a knapsack, and was treated as a “pet” by a cruel Nazi camp commandant. When the Nazis abandoned the camp in winter 1945, Ms. Ravina and her family returned to their home, finding the Soviet army had liberated it, but her father had been killed by the Nazis, and she was the only child from her town to survive the war. With her remaining family members, Ms. Ravina immigrated to Canada in 1951 and then New York, where Ruth married Polish violinist Oscar Ravina. The two got married, raised two sons, and today she enjoys four grandchildren.
The observance also featured musical performances by the Newark Boys Chorus School Apprentice Chorus, and is being sponsored by Holocaust Council of Metro West, the City of Newark’s Department of Neighborhood and Recreational Services, the Newark Public Schools, The Berger Organization, LLC, the Betesh Group, The Newark Museum, WBGO Radio, Edison Properties, LLC, RBH Group LLC, Temple B’nai Abraham of Livingston, and Manischewitz.
The City of Newark’s Annual Holocaust Remembrance, now in its third decade, is the state’s largest such observance. Every year the observance focuses not only on memorializing those who were victims of the Holocaust, but emphasizes the importance of remembering the past for the sake of the future. By teaching our youth about Holocaust and genocide, they gain tools to prevent this horror from repeating itself, and to better transform our nation into one we can all believe in. Attending students also learn about resilience after trauma, civic responsibility, and personal responsibility.