HOUSTON, TX (Jan. 17, 2006) – Houston will observe the first-ever International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27 with publication of a new book by eight Houston area Holocaust survivors and special ceremonies featuring readings from their work.
The United Nations in November set Jan. 27 as the first international Holocaust commemoration day – marking 60 years since the day Russian forces liberated the Nazi concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz. The U.N. resolution originally was sponsored by Israel, the United States, Australia, Canada and Russia, but since that time, more than 91 member nations have added their names, including eight Muslim countries and several countries in Africa and South America.
Houston observance ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. on Jan. 27 at Holocaust Museum Houston, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District. The services are free and open to the public, and many of the approximately 300 survivors still living in the region are expected to attend.
Local ceremonies will be highlighted by readings from three survivors of their works from a new book “The Album: Shadows of Memory,” which was created by the Museum as part of the “Memory Project,” a program originally developed by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
The project brought eight Holocaust survivors together to work with a creative writing instructor to learn how to explore and document some of the inner-most feelings associated with their Holocaust experiences. The survivors spent 10 months examining some of the most sensitive places of their souls to record their thoughts for future generations.
Survivors who will read from their works at the Jan. 27 event include Lissa Streusand, who fled Poland to come to America in 1939; Edith Hamer, who fled Lithuania with her parents when she was just two years old; and Sam Rubin, who was forced into hiding in 1941 and whose mother was killed at Auschwitz in September 1943.
The book also includes works from survivors Chaja Verveer, Celina Fein, Riki Roussos, Pauline Rubin and Hania Lewkowitz. The service will be led by Rabbi Brian Strauss and Hazzan David Propis of Congregation Beth Yeshurun. Both are members of the Museum’s Board of Directors.
“The Album is the result of our first class under the Memory Project, and the book could not come at a more appropriate time,” said Susan Llanes-Myers, executive director of the Museum. “As our survivors age and the number of living witnesses to the Holocaust becomes fewer and fewer, it is more important than ever that we document their histories and learn all that we can from their tragedies and their triumphs. The memory of the Holocaust and its lessons must not be forgotten.”
The survivors worked with Mary Munson Murphy, another member of the Museum’s Board, to learn how to creatively express their emotions and thoughts through their personal histories of the Holocaust.
The book will be available for purchase at the event at a cost of $14.95 per copy.