Holocaust survivors share stories of sorrow and perseverance

Holocaust survivors from the New York area are doing their part to make sure Nazi atrocities are not forgotten.

Ruth Zimbler, 90, isn't a teacher by profession. But she was one on Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. The lesson she taught high school students at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan didn't come from a textbook; it came from memory. Ruth was one of several Holocaust survivors who spent the day sharing their stories at the museum, a living memorial to the holocaust.

The stories told brought a realism to all the atrocities of the Holocaust that no school book could ever capture.

Aviva Blumberg, 87, explained how she was able to escape Poland as a young girl after being handed off to a family that her mother trusted to protect her. She said that she could pass as a non-Jew because of her blue eyes and a fake birth certificate with a common name.

Aviva donated to the museum the suitcase she had when she said goodbye to her mother and sister, whom she never saw again. She said the suitcase contained all of her worldly possessions when she left Poland: pajamas, underwear and a toothbrush.

Ruth spoke about Kristallnacht—the Night of Broken Glass—when German Nazis burned Jewish synagogues, homes, and businesses and killed nearly a hundred people in 1938. She said that speaking about Kristallnacht was emotional but that the children understood the evil.

"I asked them to, please, when they see an injustice anywhere to stand up to it," Ruth said.

While we cannot go back and change history, we can learn from it, especially from those who were there.