By Reporter staff
The Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton will hold a virtual Yom Hashoah event on Tuesday, April 26, at 7 pm. The virtual event will include a live Zoom session with Holocaust survivor Aliza Erber, who will also offer a Q&A session. In addition, the event will feature readings by local rabbis. It will be available on Zoom and on screen in the Temple Concord sanctuary. Click here for a link to the event. To learn more information about how to attend at Temple Concord, contact the synagogue at TempleConcordbinghamton@gmail.com or 723-7355.
“I was born in Holland in a small town where my mother was sent to from Den Haag to get far away from the German invasion,” Erber writes in her resume. “That was April of 1943. Of course, that town was soon overrun by the Gestapo and, although there were many Righteous Gentiles [R.G.] who helped the Jews, there were also many who denounced us. My mother had to give me away. There was a R.G. doctor who created an underground bunker in the woods and together with a couple of nurses cared for 10 Jewish babies. I am told that when the Germans patrolled the woods, our mouths were taped shut.”
Life was difficult for those in hiding. “Our diet consisted of mashed down roots and boiled grass,” Erber added. “Eventually this bunker was discovered, the nurses shot dead, the children clubbed to death by rifle butts. I am not sure how it was that I survived.”
Her father and grandfather were part of the Resistance movement and the Dutch underground. “My father was then caught and sent to Terezin,” she said. “He was sent to a total of six concentration camps to finally succumb at Auschwitz. He died of slave labor, starvation and typhus.”
Erber noted that she and her mother were reunited after the war. “In many ways, I am not only a ‘Hidden Child,’ but also a child of Holocaust survivors,” she added. “I am now 74 years old and find that it has become my responsibility as one of the last survivors to share my story and that of my family.”
“I am pleased that we will be able to once again hold a Holocaust commemoration,” said Shelley Hubal, executive director of the Federation. “This is our third year holding a virtual event, but I feel it’s important for the community to gather to recognize the significance of Yom Hashoah. This event is special because we’ll be hearing a Holocaust survivor speak.”
Hubal noted the importance of allowing Holocaust survivors to share their stories before it is too late. “The survivors of the Holocaust are aging and there are fewer opportunities to speak with them directly,” she said. “I look forward to hearing Aliza speak about her experience. We need to cherish these opportunities and honor the survivors while we still can.”