Time to remember: Community pays tribute to Holocaust victims
May 6, 2014
WIESBADEN, Germany - "We welcomed every bomb that fell, hoping that maybe we were closer to the end," recalled Anita Lippert, a Wiesbaden Holocaust survivor.
Lippert, who spent three months in a concentration camp in the Czech Republic, told her story to a packed house at the Flyers Theater on Clay Kaserne for the National Holocaust Days of Remembrance April 29.
Rabbi Avraham Zeev Nussbaum opened by singing the "El Male Rachamim," a Hebrew funeral prayer dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.
One need not understand Hebrew to feel the sorrow in his prayers, said Col. David Carstens, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander.
A video detailing the horrors of the Holocaust and genocides in other countries since was shown following the prayer.
Lippert then shared her harrowing story of survival. She was born in 1931 in Wiesbaden. In 1942 the Nazis closed her school and made everyone wear the yellow Star of David. She and her father were deported to Theresienstadt where they were separated into men's and children's quarters. Lippert lived with 23 other girls sharing six slices of bread for their daily meal, she said.
Her mother, Jewish only by marriage, stayed behind.
The end came on May 8, 1945, three days after her 14th birthday when she was sick in the hospital with measles and scarlet fever. Her father gave her two slices of bread and a sausage, which she recalls as her favorite birthday gift. She and her father were reunited with her mother, but their house had been bombed. Thirty-seven members of her extended family had been killed, and only one of her classmates survived.
"If it hadn't been for the Allied Forces … I wouldn't be standing here today," she said.
Lippert, who rarely speaks publicly about her experiences, said talking about it still doesn't heal the wounds.
"It's the same as always -- I have great emotions," she said. "I can't forget my family, all who were killed."
Following Lippert's speech, students from Wiesbaden Middle School and the Jüdische Gemeinde Wiesbaden (Jewish Community of Wiesbaden) lit six candles of remembrance: for the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust; the 1.5 million children murdered by the Nazis; the ghetto and resistance fighters who hid in the woods; the non-Jewish Europeans and American Soldiers who helped Jews despite the risk to their lives; the survivors of the Holocaust who went on to build a new existence for themselves; and the state of Israel that has become a homeland for the Jewish people.
"It's very nice to see that Americans remember the Holocaust," said Mark Krasnov, leader of the youth center of the Jewish community. "It's important to them too."
For more events in the Jewish community, including courses, lectures, Hebrew language courses, cooking and dance classes, as well as short excursions into the surrounding area pursuing traces of Jewish culture in and around Wiesbaden, contact the Jewish Community Office (Friedrichstr. 31, 65185 Wiesbaden) at civ (0611) 9333030 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.