Indian community in New York observes Holocaust Remembrance Day with survivors

A 100-year old Holocaust survivor talks to Dr. Sumita SenGupta, founder of Arts4All, who cosponsored the January 28, 2024, commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in NY. PHOTO: Courtesy Arts4All

On Sunday, January 28, 2024, New York City Holocaust survivors joined with the Arts4All Foundation, and several elected leaders and community organizations, to commemorate the 79th anniversary of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the liberation from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps.

Those who came together included Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Sam T. Berger (D-Queens), Senator Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), Senator John C. Liu (D-Queens), Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Queens), Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), Deputy Borough President Ebony Young, the Queens Jewish Community Council, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Commonpoint Queens, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the Association of Indians in America, community and religious leaders, and the Indian American community.

Dr. Sengupta joined with Dep BP Young, Senator Comrie, Assemblymembers Weprin, Berger, Braunstein and Kim to honoree NYC Holocaust survivors. PHOTO: Arts4All

Sponsored and organized by Dr. Sumita SenGupta, the founder of Arts4All Foundation, a human rights organization, the event highlighted India’s longstanding tradition, culture, and commitment to standing up against the Holocaust, genocide, discrimination, mass violence, and hatred in support of global peace and solidarity.

Several prominent Indian and Bangladeshi American community leaders, including Vimal K. Goyal, Praful Vaghela, Indu Jaiswal, Govind Singh Negi, Dr. Usha Bansal, Om Bansal, Rajat Tandan, Amaninder Singh Thind, Dr. Sanjukta Bhaduri, Kripa Ranjan Prasad, Divya Goyal, Piyush Patel, Kishore Malik, Veena Lamba, Dr. Sachi Dastidar, Dr. Shefali Dastidar, Surin Manaktala, and Shubra Goswami, attended the event.

Indian community leaders with Holocaust survivors of New York, at the Jan. 28, 2024 event. PHOTO: Arts4All

“As we pray for the victims of the Holocaust and gather in solidarity with the nine New York Holocaust survivors we honor today, we are reminded through their remarkable journey to liberation that they are not only the survivors of an atrocious tragedy but the heroes of peace who paved the way to advance equality and freedom,” Dr. SenGupta said.

The holocaust survivors recalled their personal experiences, drawing praise from attendees.

The event was cosponsored by Assemblymen Weprin and Berger, Councilman Gennaro, and the Queens Jewish Community Council.

Weprin, co-president of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, said, “On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we look back at the atrocities of the Holocaust and remember the victims who are no longer with us. We also honor the brave souls that live to tell their stories. We need to share the truth of what can happen when hate runs rampant. We need to confront antisemitism and stop hate in all its forms. We need to continue to educate our youth so they can recognize and be upstanders in the face of hate.”

Berger, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, said, “In a post-October 7th world, it is more crucial than ever that we remember the Holocaust and that baseless hatred can fester anywhere,” referencing the Hamas attack on Israel.

Almost 80 years after the Holocaust, there are an estimated 25,000 New York Holocaust survivors alive, making New York City one of the largest populations of living Holocaust survivors, the press release noted.

The nine Holocaust survivors who were honored at the event, are residents of Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. Inge Auerbacher of Jamaica, Queens, Sami Steigmann of Manhattan, New York; Lena Goren of Rego Park, Queens, is one of the last living Greek Holocaust survivors; Blanche Fixler of Kew Gardens, Queens; Susan Charney of Manhattan, New York; Sally Frishberg of Brooklyn; and Rosalie Simon of Floral Park, Queens.

The event also honored two centennials: Leon Sherman of Rego Park, Queens; and Jack Betteil of Bayside, Queens.

Local New York businesses showed their support by supplying an assortment of handcrafted bagels, baclava, and other foods in honor of the survivors.



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