Remembering the Children of the Holocaust
April 24, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Army Space Soldiers from the 1st Space Brigade, along with other personnel from U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, attended a program, 'Remembering the Holocaust,' sponsored by the brigade in its command conference room April 18.
Lt. Col. Karen Roe, commander of the 53rd Signal Battalion (SATCON), served as host providing opening and closing remarks. Holocaust educator/presenter Rosalyn Kirkel, Colorado Jewish Holocaust child survivor and descendant, was the guest speaker.
Kirkel was the youngest of three children. By the time the Holocaust ended, she was the only child left -- a Jewish child survivor. As a storyteller and speaker she dramatizes true recollections to help people understand and remember the Holocaust.
She has been featured in The Denver Post, Intermountain Jewish News, and on National Public Radio. Kirkel's stories are based upon her early memories, what her father and aunt told her along with her research. She has permission to tell the stories of the other children who lived and died during the Holocaust.
Her presentation was titled "Children of the Holocaust." Kirkel recounted the experiences of those who lived and perished through poignant vignettes of the Jewish children of Europe during those darkest of days to include the infamous "kinderaktia" (children's action) on November 5, 1943, in Lithuania.
"So you wonder how I survived?" asked Kirkel while pointing to the fact that the Nazis murdered 1.5 million Jewish children in Europe. "I was among the estimated 1 percent who survived. How? By hiding my Jewish identity."
She said only so many children found themselves fortunate enough to be adopted into a Christian home to be hidden. Some children also ended up in an orphanage, in a monastery, in a barn, on the run, and some even hid in the forest.
Through a series of poignant and heartbreaking stories, Kirkel held the audience captive describing what children and their families had to endure in the Jewish ghettos, concentration camps, and even in underground sewers during the Holocaust.
"These are Jewish children. Some lived, and some didn't," Kirkel said while showing photographs of the children she talked about, including her family. "When I see my granddaughters I am so thrilled that I lived. I lived so that they could be born -- my daughter, my son. And I feel very sad that my sister, bother and mother did not. I feel I am a voice for children. The Jewish children (1.5 million) that have no voice and that is why I'm here today to share a small piece of what happened to children."
Before presenting Kirkel with a brigade letter and coin of thanks, Roe said, "Let us reflect on all the good things people did. All the ways of hope and help. What a powerful impact you have had being here today."
Kirkel said she was grateful for the opportunity to share her story.
"Let this never happen again - anywhere," she said.
Brigade personnel had an opportunity to meet Kirkel and learn more of the Holocaust through displays set up in the lobby of the brigade headquarters.