Holocaust survivors, their children, a survivor’s widow and a survivor’s teacher had the honor of lighting the six candles at the annual Days of Remembrance ceremony held by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust on Friday, April 20.
After a year at Heritage Sandy Springs, the commemoration returned to the state Capitol but moved from an atrium into the House chambers.
The historical core of the event, the candle-lighting ceremony, honored survivors Tosia and Fred Schneider; Michele Taylor, daughter of the late survivor Hanne Susi Trnka; Helen Hirsch, widow of survivor Harold Hirsch; Laurence Sherr, son of the late survivor Alice Sherr; Freda Goodman and Helen Silberminz, daughters of the late survivors Gisela and Israel Silberminz; and Frances Fitterman Zaglin, an Atlanta native and teacher who was escorted by a former student, survivor Hershel Greenblat.
When Greenblat arrived in Atlanta in the fall of 1950, he didn’t speak English, but he was placed in a third-grade class taught by Zaglin, who knew Yiddish and caught him up with his classmates. Although both still live in metro Atlanta — Zaglin in Sandy Springs and Greenblat in Alpharetta — they lost touch for more than 60 years before being reunited in August, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said during the candle-lighting ceremony.
Two fifth-grade teachers from the GEAR Gifted Center in Colquitt County, Noel Giles and Monica Tugwell, shared the Distinguished Educator Award for their team teaching of the Holocaust.
In the commission’s Creative Arts Student Contest, on the theme of “Incite, Resist, Document: Weighing the Power of Words,” the middle school winners were Linda Olvera-Jones of Dalton Middle School, first; Edward Ramirez of Dalton Middle, second; and Margaret Hwang, General Ray Davis Middle School, third. At the high school level, Kayla Park of Lambert High School was first, and Madeline Grasso of South Forsyth High was second.
The winning entries are at holocaust.georgia.gov/2018-winners.
David A. Ross, the president and CEO of the nation’s second-largest nonprofit organization, the Decatur-based Task Force on Global Health, received the commission’s Humanitarian Award, which he accepted on behalf of his colleagues.
“I am gratified to live in a state that nurtures the remembrance of the millions of victims of the Holocaust and those who survived,” said Ross, a postwar baby whose father was an American soldier in Europe during World War II.
“I was raised knowing that something very awful had happened,” he said. “My parents’ sense of moral outrage taught me that this should never have happened and that we can never turn away from genocide and we can never turn away when events turn against any single group of people. My parents gave me the gift of conscience and, I think, the gift to act.”