Ensuring Holocaust survivors’ stories live on

April 12, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The theme of this year’s communal Yom Hashoah commemoration in NSW is “Keeping Alive the Stories of Survival”…writes Dane Stern.

Olga Horack

In the past year, our community has lost many of its treasured Holocaust survivors, highlighting the reality of dwindling survivor numbers and how we must cherish those that are still with us.

Survivors will be front and centre at this year’s commemoration. It will feature numerous survivors sharing their incredible stories, as well as their wishes for how our community can ensure their stories live on.

One of these survivors is Olga Horak.

Olga epitomises the theme of “Keeping Alive the Stories of Survival”. She has shared her story at the Sydney Jewish Museum for 30 years – continuing well into her 90s. She has also written a book called Auschwitz to Australia: A Holocaust Survivor’s Memoir.

I find Olga’s courage inspirational. Despite reliving memories of Auschwitz, a death march and Bergen-Belsen, and the loss of her entire immediate family, Olga has been determined to educate Australians about the atrocities of the Holocaust.

I am grateful that she has agreed to speak at this year’s Yom Hashoah commemoration. I look forward to joining hundreds of community members in honouring a person who has shared her story so widely and made such an enormous contribution to Holocaust remembrance.

Attendees will also hear innovative ways that survivors’ grandchildren are learning to share their grandparents’ stories publicly.

Many members of our community have relatives who survived the Holocaust, some of whom shared their survival stories in testimonies that have remained untouched for years.

I hope that after attending this year’s commemoration families will be inspired to watch, hear or read their relative’s testimony together, ensuring they keep alive their own family’s stories of survival.

CEO of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies Darren Bark said: “At 95, Olga Horak OAM is still an active survivor guide at the Sydney Jewish Museum, and epitomises this year’s Yom Hashoah theme of ‘Keeping Alive the Stories of Survival’.

The commemoration, on April 27 at 7pm, will feature a moving video tribute of Olga’s Holocaust experiences, as well as a live performance by Alexis Fishman and CHUTNEY, featuring Ben Adler and Paul Khodor.

As the number of remaining Holocaust survivors sadly dwindles, please join us in hearing from Olga, and ensuring our survivors’ stories and incredible legacies live on.”

Dane Stern is chair of the NSW JBD’s Shoah Remembrance Committee. The JBD’s annual Yom Hashoah ceremony will take place in person at an Eastern Suburbs location on Wednesday, April 27 at 7pm and will be streamed online. Members of the North Shore community can also watch the screening at an in-person event. To register, visit www.nswjbd.org.au/yomhashoah.

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