Holocaust survivors say the next generation must be educated on the past

Program honoring holocaust victims

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Folks gathered Sunday at the Alys Stephens Center for a ceremony held by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center. There, survivors talked about educating the next generation.

The ceremony included music and memories of home as told by the survivors.

Riva Hirsch enjoyed the tribute, which she says plays an important role.

“I’ll be honest with you, we needed it - very important, because there’s so much denial going on,” says Hirsch.

Denial that atrocities like the Holocaust even happened. But she was there.

“I was seven years old when I survived that misery. I was hidden by nuns. They took me out from the camp, and they took me to a convent, I didn’t know where I am. But I was hidden. They were my guardian angel.”

Max Steinmetz was the only one in his family to survive the Nazi concentration camps.

“I was in different camps, I was in Auschwitz. I was in Dachau, I was in a death march. I ate out of garbage cans. We were so hungry; we didn’t have enough food. I’m very fortunate I survived,” says Steinmetz.

He visits school children now, telling them stories of how he survived - and is met with child-like skepticism. “When I tell them these things, they look at me like, is this guy for real?”

But that’s the reason the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center exists and holds events like this - to make sure this history never dies, and is never repeated.

“Let’s hope we never again have or see anything like that,” says Steinmetz.

You can watch video of the event at their website by clicking here.

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