The numbers of Holocaust survivors decreases each year, but the numbers who remember the Holocaust victims each year remains constant in New York City.
Some 2,000 people — survivors, their descendants and members of the wider Jewish community — come together every year during the week of Yom HaShoah in the sanctuary of the Upper East Side’s Congregation Emanu-El for the Annual Gathering of Remembrance, the city’s oldest and largest Holocaust memorial ceremony.
Last week, again, 2,000 came. They prayed. They lit candles. They wept. They listened to speeches by survivors and political leaders. And they remembered.
Sol Rosenkranz, a survivor, and his son Joel were among the candle-lighters.
“For many, it is impossible to know when their family and friends perished,” said David Marwell, director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “To mourn them and to commemorate the loss of all who perished, a special day has been set aside — Yom HaShoah — a day when we gather to remember. It is the museum’s daily mission to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust through remembrance, education and the continuity of Jewish culture.”
The museum is a co-sponsor of the event, along with the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization and the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
On Yom HaShoah, the museum opened its galleries to survivors who discussed their wartime experiences, often in front of exhibition cases that house artifacts they donated.
Next year on Yom HaShaoh, there will be fewer survivors. But New York, in steady numbers, will keep remembering.