May 09, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
“Honoring Holocaust Survivors: A Concert of Resilience and Hope” took place at Mount Saint Mary College on May 5.
Mount Saint Mary College, in partnership with the Jewish Family Service of Orange County and SageArts, honored holocaust survivors through film, artwork, and song on Sunday, May 5.
The Mount’s Aquinas Hall Theatre hosted “Holocaust Survivors: A Concert of Resilience and Hope” in honor of Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Songwriters from SageArts and other musicians performed songs written with local Holocaust survivors that express their life experience. Artwork of local survivors was also on display.
In addition to the efforts of the Jewish Family Service, SageArts, and the Mount, the event was made possible by contributions from the Jewish Federation of North America’s Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, the Newburgh Jewish Community Center, KAVOD – Ensuring Dignity for Holocaust Survivors, and Humanities New York. More than a dozen families and businesses provided financial support.
There were eight survivors honored.
Khaia Bondar left Moldova in Russia in 1942 at the age of ten. Her family moved from town to town to escape the Nazis, and when her father was killed, the family kept running. Upon returning to Moldova in 1945, she found the entire town had been demolished.
Friede Gorewitz was born in Romania and fled to Belgium at the age of four. As a member of the Belgium resistance, she was personally responsible for saving the lives of at least 18 children.
Héléne Kaplan was nine years old in 1942, when her family went into hiding. She described the next four years as “Hell on Earth.” Her sister worked for the Nazis and saved countless lives, before losing her own life in the process. Héléne moved to the United States in the 1960s.
Khaim Lisnyansky was born in Latvia in 1939. Two years later, Latvia was occupied. The family had four hours to pack their truck and escape to Kirov in Russia. When his father left to join the army, they would be reunited years later, in 1945.
Rita Schwartz was born in 1927 in Vienna. After the events of Kristallnacht, Schwartz and her family were left homeless and, after trekking through the woods into Belgium, they escaped via boat to the United States in 1940.
Tibor Spitz was born in Slovakia in 1929. At 10 years old, he was kicked out of school and forced to wear a yellow star. When Slovakia was taken over, he and his family survived for 200 days hidden in a snowy forest.
Amos Sunshine was born in Vienna in 1929. With his parents traumatized by what they saw and experienced, it was one of his older brothers, he explained, who saved him by introducing him to Zionist Youth Corps. Amos moved to the United States in 1939.
Tommy Wald was born in 1941. At the time, his family was living in a shed on the family’s farm in France. His mother would hide him in a drawer in hopes that his life would be spared if the family was discovered. His father joined the resistance and came to America in 1951.