2016 Days of Remembrance - "Mothers and Fathers: Stories of Love and Loss"

April 14, 2016

This year, Days of Remembrance in Georgia is May 1-8, 2016. The 2016 theme is "Mothers and Fathers: Stories of Love and Loss." 

During the Holocaust, the fate of children was particularly precarious. Without the protection, support and security that parents and communities could offer during ordinary times, their lives were turned upside down.

With the 1933 rise to power of the Nazis in Germany and the Nazi-occupation of many countries throughout Europe beginning in 1939, life changed dramatically for Jews and other target groups.

Antisemitic legislation expelled Jewish children from public schools. Jewish professionals lost their jobs and businesses. Anxiety pervaded life at home as mass round-ups and deportations began.

As conditions worsened for Jews and other targeted populations in Europe, parents could not always shield their children from starvation, disease, and death. In the face of such circumstances, parents often had to make difficult choices in order protect or save their children.

Some parents made the agonizing choice of turning their children over to friends, neighbors, or in some cases, strangers, in an effort to save their lives. They made these decisions not knowing if they would ever see their children again. 

At the killing centers, most children were sent directly to the gas chambers upon arrival, along with others considered "unfit for work" such as the ill or elderly. In eastern Europe, SS and police forces shot thousands of children along with their parents at the edges of mass graves. 

The Germans and their collaborators killed as many as 1.5 million children. This number included over a million Jewish children and tens of thousands of Romani (Gypsy) children, German children with physical and mental disabilities living in institutions, Polish children, and children residing in the occupied Soviet Union."

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

After liberation and the end of World War II in 1945, surviving parents searched throughout Europe for missing children. Thousands of orphaned children whose parents were lost or murdered were left behind.

The mothers and fathers who endured the events of the Holocaust, whether they survived or were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators, must be remembered. We must ensure that "never again" isn't an empty slogan, but a call to action. This is how we honor these stories of love and loss. This is what we have learned from their courage and faith. 

Join us in honoring this year's theme and in commemorating the victims of the Holocaust by attending one of our upcoming events:

March 17- May 4
Sandy Springs

"Georgia's Response to the Holocaust" exhibit on display

 
May 5
Savannah
A Survivor's Story: Manuela Mendels Bornstein
May 8
Sandy Springs

Sunday Matinee - Mothers and Fathers: Stories of Love and Loss

May 11
Roswell
A Survivor's Story: Helen Fromowitz Weingarten

 

Sally N. Levine

About the Author

Sally N. Levine joined the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust in December of 2013 from the Breman Museum in Atlanta where she served as the Specialist for Teacher and Curriculum Development.