Museum of Jewish Heritage launches site to honor Holocaust survivors who died of COVID-19

A German-made World War II-era freight car on rails is put into place by a crane Sunday outside the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City.
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

The Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust launched a new tribute site to share the stories and honor the lives of Holocaust survivors who lost their lives over the past year amid the global Coronavirus pandemic. 

The memorial page, found on the Museum’s website, features testimonials from relatives about their loved ones and includes images of Holocaust survivors who lost their lives since the pandemic began.

“Over this past year, as we endured a devastating pandemic, we have heard from relatives who have sought ways to share the stories of perseverance and resilience in times of pain and in times of hope,” said Jack Kliger, President and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “Since our founding days nearly 25 years ago, the Museum has dedicated our work to both those who lost their lives during the Holocaust, and those who survived, and their children and grandchildren. Through this new tribute page, we will ensure their lives will not be forgotten,” he continued.

Holocaust survivors, all ages 75 and older, have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic since the illness is especially lethal to seniors. Because many Holocaust survivors have been stuck inside, self-isolating over the past year, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and its staff have regularly engaged and checked on these seniors, calling them weekly, teaching them how to connect with others through technology and delivering weekly meals to survivors in New York. 

The Museum continues to seek tribute stories from the family members of Holocaust survivors that were lost beginning in 2020. Submit your story and your loved one’s photo here

On Sunday, April 11, the Museum will host its Annual Gathering of Remembrance at 2:00 p.m. (EST). The commemoration, which will take place virtually this year, fulfills the sacred Jewish obligation to remember those killed during the Holocaust.

This year’s Gathering of Remembrance will pay special tribute to Holocaust survivors who lost their lives over the past year amid the pandemic. 

Delivered by New York City, which has one of the world’s largest communities of Holocaust survivors (it is estimated that over 38,000 survivors live in the New York metropolitan area), the tribute exudes a special power as it celebrates so many within its own community.

“Even though this year we are not able to gather in person, it is still our obligation to remember those that we lost,” said Museum Trustee Rita Lerner, the daughter of two Holocaust survivors and the event Co-Chair. “We honor their memory and the memory of all survivors who have passed away, leaving us to carry on their great legacy,” she continued.

The event will feature music, remarks from Holocaust survivors and young people and a candle-lighting ceremony as well as reflections from special guests including Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Elisha Wiesel, Israeli Consul General Israel Nitzan, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Cantor Joseph Malovany, Daniel Kahn and Zalmen Mlotek.

“As a third generation of survivors, we are honored to again participate in this annual tribute, which serves as a reminder that we must never forget,” said Alissa Rozen, Event Co-Chair and Young Friends of the Museum Board Member. “This is a moment to pause, to reflect, and to recommit to keeping the stories of the Holocaust alive.”

To watch Sunday’s commemoration or donate to the Museum, RSVP or click here. The event will also be shared on the Museum’s website and its digital platforms. 

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