By Yvonne Johnson, APG NewsMay 1, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Team APG hosted a Days of Remembrance ceremony in commemoration of the Holocaust at the post theater April 26.
Edith M. Cord, a Holocaust survivor, shared the story of how her father and brother were taken by Nazis during the night to eventually die in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of about 6 million Jews during World War II. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in 1933, believed that Germans were racially superior and Jews, deemed "inferior" were a threat to the racial community. More than one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust.
Other groups targeted due to perceived racial inferiority included Roma (gypsies), the disabled, some Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Also persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, were Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuals.
Though APG's guest speaker, Cord, and her mother survived the Holocaust, many years passed before she could overcome its horrors. She said during the dysfunctional years following the war, she was consumed only by an overwhelming need to gain an education. At the war's end, Cord was a 17-year-old with a 6th grade education.
Cord is the author of "Becoming Edith: The Education of a Hidden Child" which was published in 2008. A former language professor, she retired from her regular job in 2007 to devote herself to writing and speaking in order to share the life lessons she learned the hard way: how to rise from difficult circumstances, transcend hatred, protect freedom and stand up for values.
APG and CECOM Commander Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell and Deputy Installation Commander Col. Orlando Ortiz welcomed Cord along with Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commander of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command; CECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Kennis Dent and ATEC Command Sgt. Maj. Allen G. Fritzsching.
Special guests included students from Joppatowne High School, Bel Air Middle School, the Saint Stephen School in Kingsville, Md., and cadets from the Military Youth Corps Free State ChalleNGe Academy.
Rabbi Gila Ruskin of Temple Adas Shalom in Havre de Grace challenged students to share Cord's story. Ferrell thanked Cord for sharing her story and called her a "living witness and memorial."
"Sometimes we do not think about how costly freedom is," he told her. "We were truly blessed with your presence here today."
To view or download photos of the event, visit the APG Flickr site at www.flickr.com/photos/usagapg.