Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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The message of Holocaust Remembrance Day: Never forget the horrors

Grosz-Zaltas: "... it is all
of our business ..."

POUGHKEEPSIE – The annual Holocaust Remembrance Day observance was held at county courthouses throughout the 9th Judicial District, including Dutchess County, on Monday afternoon.  The event in Poughkeepsie, sponsored by the Justice Brandeis Law Society with the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center featured the daughter of parents who were both survivors of the Holocaust. 

Kathy Grosz-Zaltas told of her parents who were teenagers in Czechoslovakia when Hitler and the Nazis invaded Eastern Europe, forcing millions into concentration camps where, unlike many others, they survived and were liberated by Allied troops. 

The emotional speaker told of her mother's journey back to her village only to learn that she had lost every member of her immediate family as well as most of her extended family.  She weaved the tale of her parents meeting, marrying, and fleeing Eastern Europe to America via Peru where they eventually ended up in Westchester County, settled, and raised a family.

The former school teacher told the gathering about growing up as a second generation survivor where, unlike many neighbors, she didn't have any aunts or uncles because they perished as a result of Hitler's attempt to eradicate the world of Jews. 

When asked what motivates her to speak about the Holocaust, Grosz-Zaltas said that she hopes it motivates people to speak out about the injustices, ranging from bullying to anti-Semitism, in order for society to live together peacefully.

“Whether it is speaking up when someone is being bullied, or someone being harassed, it is all of our business because we are a family of man,” she said.

The gathering, designed to educate the public about the horrors of the Holocaust, was moderated by Poughkeepsie attorney Marty Rutberg.

In his remarks, Rutberg reminded the audience that Germany was the last nation in the western hemisphere to have slave labor.  According to Rutberg, not only were the interred required to produce items for the military but they also were forced to work for German companies such as BMW. 

Rutberg said to this day he refuses to purchase a BMW because the major shareholders are the offspring of the people that used Jews as slaves during WW II.  He also stressed the importance of remembering the unspeakable crimes committed by the Nazis during the 1930's and 1940's or society could end up falling victim to the same type of horrors. 

The attorney cited the ongoing crisis in Syria, where the country's leaders have taken to committing mass murders against their own citizens who have criticized the government, to solidify his argument.

 


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