Survivor scheduled to speak at Holocaust commemoration
April 8, 2010
- Fort Jackson's Days of Remembrance ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Sunday.
- Abraham Getman, a Holocaust survivor, wrote a book about his experience, titled "Borders of Hope."
FORT JACKSON, SC -- Abraham Getman has been married to his wife, Muriel, for almost 50 years. The 83-year-old is the father of four grown children and the grandfather of one. His family owns a small business in New York. He is also a Holocaust survivor.
Getman escaped from his hometown of Luboml, Poland, on the Polish-Ukrainian border hours before German forces ordered the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in the fall of 1942.
Then 16, he survived for almost two years without money, fleeing from town to town on foot or by cargo train. Getman was one of only 51 survivors of the Jewish community in Luboml, which used to number about 5,000 before World War II.
More than 20 members of Getman's immediate family were killed during the Holocaust.
Getman, who wrote a book, "Borders of Hope," about his experiences, will share his story with the Fort Jackson community during the installation's Days of Remembrance service Sunday, 9:30 a.m. at Memorial Chapel.
"I believe that since there aren't many survivors alive today, it is important to speak publically to those who never met a survivor in person," he said. "By speaking publically, my story has a stronger impact than someone would get by just reading (it) in a book. It gives people the chance to meet with a survivor and to see in person that - even 60 plus years after the Holocaust has happened - it is still emotional to describe what my generation went through to survive."
Stephanie Alexander, who serves as the Jewish lay leader on post, said that many young people have never had the chance to hear about the Holocaust directly from a survivor.
She said that to prevent similar atrocities, young people have to be aware of what happened in the past, and the Days of Remembrance service Sunday will provide an opportunity to promote that awareness.
"The majority of the attendees will be Basic Combat Training Soldiers," Alexander said. "It's going to be younger people, and I think that's when you need to get them - when they're young, so they realize, 'Hey, we're not really all that different. We're all people. It's OK to get along with someone who might look different or have a little different belief than I do. That's not a reason to exterminate an entire population.'"
Getman said that sharing his story with younger generations helps keep the memory alive.
"I believe that this generation needs to know the story so that they can then tell the story to their generation and future generations," he said. "The reason for this is so that future generations will never forget what had happened. As the years go by there are fewer and fewer survivors and we need our story to continue and pass our legacy to future generations. Like the story of Passover that happened thousands of years ago - it has continued because it is passed down from generation to generation so it isn't forgotten."
If you go
- Days of Remembrance service, Sunday, 9:30 a.m., Memorial Chapel
- A reception is scheduled after the service at the Joe E. Mann Center.
- The event is open to the public.