Holocaust survivors share stories at St. Paul remembrance event

Each year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the memories of all the people Edith Goodman lost during the Holocaust come flooding back to her.

“My mother's sister, who we were really close with, her husband and her three-year-old girl, my close friends, who were also relatives,” said Goodman. “It was a nice little town where I was from. Nice people. And nobody came back.”

Goodman's journey is one of several survivors’ stories shared during the Holocaust Remembrance Day program at Mount Zion Temple. The annual event commemorates the six million Jews and other victims who were murdered during World War II.

A new survey from The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, however, shows some Americans lack basic knowledge about the mass killings. 

“Sixty-six percent of Millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is, 41 percent of all Americans don't know what Auschwitz is,” said Steve Hunegs, Jewish Community Relations Council. “We have an obligation to history to teach and who are our best teacher? Survivors and their stories.”

Before the program, schoolchildren, dressed in black, read the names of some of the victims from the Nazi concentration camps, while survivors’ decedents lit candles to honor their ancestors and pledged to never forget.

Wayzata High School teacher Candice Ledman received a special award for going above and beyond to help her students understand the lessons from that war torn time.

“I think we talk a lot about how the Holocaust ends and we talk about the concentration camps,” said Ledman. “But we like to focus on how it started and it started with little things like jokes. Making people do different things here and there. Started with little things and grew and grew and grew.”

Goodman hopes sharing her story means history won't repeat itself.

“So they shouldn’t be forgotten, so it shouldn't happen again,” said Goodman. “People are very mean. It’s important. People should know they should be good.”