PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. - Rachel Epstein was born in northern France in 1932. The Holocaust survivor, who now lives in Roslyn, New York, with her husband Izzy, still keeps the yellow star she was forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe before she and her brother were rescued by a Christian family.
"For the rest of my life, even in death, I'll just always think about them," Epstein said.
Today, Epstein's portrait and 17 others adorn the walls of the Port Washington Public Library. It's part of a unique exhibit envisioned by photographer Danny Weiss, who wanted to keep the survivors' stories alive.
"They each survived and thrived differently," Weiss said. "Some did it with humor, some with stoicism, some with a deep, deep faith, some with a compassion that was boundless."
The project, titled שורד, or Survivor, was inspired about three years ago by Weiss's son's pre-bar mitzvah lecture, delivered by Holocaust survivor Irving Roth.
"The initial reaction was that I'd just like to make a portrait of him," Weiss said. "And from that one portrait, this project was born."
Weiss teamed up with project producer Dinah Kramer, who works at Temple Judea's Holocaust Research Center in Manhasset, to make his dream come to fruition.
Kramer's mother, Sara Gole, is also featured in the exhibit.
"The pictures are incredible. They really show the life that these people have," Kramer said. "And that's what we wanted to show—the resiliency and the ability to overcome insurmountable odds."
The library plans to host a special service on the evening of Jan. 27 for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The exhibit will remain on display through Jan. 30.
Port Washington Public Library | One Library Drive, Port Washington, N.Y. 11050 | 516-883-4400