(CBS DETROIT)– Today is a day of remembrance.
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“it’s an impossible occurrence in civilized nations that this outrage is not forgotten,” said Dr. Guy Stern a 100 year old Holocaust survivor from Oakland County.
That’s thanks to the Zekelman Holocaust memorial center in Farmington Hills, the only one in Michigan. The history of this unimaginable tragedy will not be forgotten.
“6 million times an individual was murdered and we tell those stories and one of the things that is special about our museum is that we really focus on local survivors and we tell their stories,” said Ruth Bergman Director of Education for The Zekelman Holocaust Center.
Like Dr. Stern who at 100 years old is the oldest local Holocaust survivor who shares his story with groups at the museum.
“My whole family may parents and two siblings were murdered during the Holocaust,” Stern said.
Stern tells this story, but it’s not his only one. He came to the US at 15 and would eventually become a member of the Ritchie Boys World War ll military intelligence in-ter-ro-ga-tion team. He would go on to be a scholar of literature and an author.
For survival speakers here, its important they aren’t viewed as just victims.
“What their life was like before so that they are seen as people not just as victims and how they rebuild their lives after how they came to Detroit, had families, got jobs build businesses,” said Bergman.
They also share a wealth of knowledge with the next generation. A group of high school students got a lesson beyond the classroom, one that can help them understand that disparities and hatred is what lead to the Holocaust and how it’s important to know this, but also be the change that’s needed today.
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“That hatred that brutality we need to remember that, we lost our humanity and we never want to see us lose that humanity again,” said Bergman.
On this International day of remembrance the museum is debuting a brand new exhibit which tells the story of how so many risked their lives to preserve history.”
‘When the Germans came in they decided they wanted to create a museum of an extinct culture and they wanted to preserve some of the materials and destroy all the rest,” Bergman said.
She says they would smuggle books on Jewish culture strapped and hidden on their bodies and buried many artifacts. An act to preserve history as well never forget those who didn’t make it out..
“Of our dearly beloved who were destroyed during that period,” said Stern.
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