10th Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day April 9
10th Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day

by Jackie Hennessey
Communications & Public Affairs Writer/Editor

Anita Schorr will have two messages for UNH students, faculty, and staff when she speaks at the University’s 10th Annual Holocaust Remembrance event on Tuesday, April 9: You must remember. But most important, you must act.

If someone is being bullied or marginalized, she said, “Step in. Be a hero. Don’t stay silent. Speak out. This takes guts, but it is what we must do as people.”

The ceremony – at 3 p.m. in University Theater in Dodds Hall – will feature the reading of the names of relatives of UNH faculty and staff who perished in the Holocaust. “It is a very stirring ceremony,” said Ira Kleinfeld, associate provost. More than 80 names will be read.

Anita Schorr, a Holocaust survivor, will speak as part of the University's 10th Annual Holocaust Remembrance event on Tuesday, April 9.

At 8 p.m. the Office of International Services and UNH’s student chapter of the NAACP will sponsor a screening of “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” The showing will take place in Buckman Hall 120.

As part of the afternoon event, Schorr, a Westport resident, is a Holocaust survivor who kept the story of her time in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen tucked inside her, out of the reach of others. But 20 years ago, after visiting the Holocaust Museum, listening to recordings of the stories of survivors and watching the powerful reaction in the room, she knew she had to share her story.

“I found my voice,” she said. “Speaking about it is a way of honoring and immortalizing my family. And it keeps me strong.”

Kleinfeld said he felt compelled to ask Schorr to give the keynote address after hearing an earlier speech. “She said, `I can tell you my story, but how will you be different from hearing this? What will you do?’” he said. “The remembrance event is meant to make an impression on our students. It is for all of us to reflect and ask, `Do I have the courage to act?’”

Schorr’s brother and mother were taken to the gas chamber and murdered in Auschwitz, and her father was shot and killed just two days before the war ended. Schorr survived Auschwitz because her mother pushed her into a line of women who were being sent to slave labor in Hamburg. She was nearly 15 when she was liberated in Bergen-Belsen. She never saw her family again.

After liberation, Schorr lived in Prague, and a year later she joined Haganah, the Israeli underground. She then went to Israel to participate in the war for independence, living on a border kibbutz, a farming collective.

“It was the most amazing thing," she said. "We would plant these seeds into the ground and they would grow into beautiful fruits and vegetables And at the same time, we were building a new country. This was the driving force that made me feel human again.”

“We also pay tribute to the righteous, those who risked everything to step in to help,” he said. This year they will honor Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish architect and diplomat, who is credited with saving the lives of 100,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary, issuing special passports and sheltering them in Budapest properties designated by Wallenberg as Swedish territory.

Students in the UNH theater program will perform a reading of the lyrics of a famous Yiddish song, “Es Brent,” about a mob attack against Jews in Poland, as no one acted to intervene. Kleinfeld said the song has become a rallying cry not to stand idly by. “Don’t just stand there, brothers, with folded hands,” the lyrics read. “Don’t stand there, put out the fire!”

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