Sunday, May 19, 2024

Ingrid Kisliuk was 8 when she learned of the Nazis’ irrational hatred of her people. At 80 she has survived to be guest speaker at Cambridge’s 21st annual Citywide Holocaust Commemoration Program.

She is the author of “Unveiled Shadows: The Witness of a Child” and “From Trauma to Trepidation: Memories Transmitted by Hidden Children to the Second Generation,” memoirs recounting her family’s escape from Vienna into exile in Belgium in 1938 and, two years later, going into hiding in Brussels during the German occupation.

The idea behind the Tuesday commemoration is to remember all who died during the Holocaust. The Peace Commission-sponsored event will feature readings, remarks and music by A Besere Velt: the Yiddish Community Chorus of the Boston Workmen’s Circle; the Cambridge Community Chorus; and the string ensemble and chorus of the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School.

“Each year the same question presents itself: ‘Why a communitywide event commemorating the Holocaust? Isn’t this a Jewish thing, something for the Jews to concern themselves with?’” commission member Marty Federman said. “The answer is an emphatic no.”

As commission director Brian Corr explains it:

“For 21 years, we have gathered to remember the murder of more than 12 million people by the Nazi regime in Europe: the Jews and the Roma, who were targeted for systematic extermination, and those who were persecuted, imprisoned and often murdered — gay and lesbian people; people with disabilities; and Quakers, Socialists and other religious and political dissidents. Each year we hear remarks from a survivor of the Holocaust, reminding us that those efforts did not — that they could not — destroy those peoples or crush the human spirit. By participating in this commemoration, we also become witnesses to the Holocaust. We are asked to vow ‘never again’ — to oppose hatred, and bigotry, and cruelty, and to work for peace and justice for all.”

Federman, a member of the synagogue hosting the event, said, “Jews must remember because we must not forget. For the broader community there is only one justification to continue remembering: So that the way we live our lives is profoundly informed by what we now know.”

The program, to be held Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Temple Beth Shalom, 8 Tremont St., Cambridge, welcomes all communities of Cambridge, including children and adults and people of all faiths and traditions. For information, call the commission at (617) 349-4694. Tremont Street is off Broadway, one block east of Prospect Street. Parking will be available at St. Mary’s Church at Harvard and Norfolk Streets is available. Resident permits will not be required for nearby street parking.

This post resulted from a press release.