SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Today, St. Vincent’s Academy hosted a Holocaust Remembrance presentation in the school gym.

The presentation included videos of the Holocaust, photos of items left behind after the Holocaust and speakers.

The speakers included Rabbi Eli Lob, Morah Chavi Rabhan, and Melinda Stein, who are all children or grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.

Morah Chavi Rabhan, whose grandparents survived the Holocaust shares their story. (Photo taken by Hollie Lewis)

Each speaker spoke about personal experiences and what it means to be Jewish in times of antisemitism.  

Rabbi Lob, whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors said, “I want to empower people to take more of a stand against hate in everybody’s individual way and really develop a culture of love and caring for every individual. It’s really important to bring out what took place in the holocaust and learn from there to build a healthy and happy future.”

Rabhan’s grandparents survived the Holocaust. Speaking about them she said, “The greatest memory I have about my grandparents is their happiness. Happiness? Yes, happiness. If I close my eyes now, I can picture my grandparents. They are smiling, and they always were. But how? It makes no sense. They endured what’s probably the most horrific episode of human history, and that’s just it, they endured.”

Rabhan said Jewish people who experienced the Holocaust had to find their roots back to living. “That was extremely difficult because of the psychological damage that they went through.”

Stein, whose parents survived the Holocaust, showed pictures of her family, including her mom who passed away when Stein was eleven years old. As a result, she said, “Much of this I don’t know firsthand, but the conditions were very bad.”

Melinda Stein speaking to students about the experiences her mother had during the Holocaust. (Photo taken by Hollie Lewis)

Stein said her mother was a bullet maker in a factory for the Nazis and was eventually beaten and sent to work in a highly toxic factory.

“What happens there is your body absorbs the poison and the whites of your eyes begin to turn yellow. After about two or three months there, you’re dead,” she explained.

Stein said her mother was able to survive because she spent only two weeks there and then the Russians came.

St. Vincent’s Academy student Meryl Fleishman said, “I’m in 10th grade, and I’m the only Jewish girl in my class and one of two in the school. People are still affected by the loss of family members and like religion trauma.”

She continued, “When most of your religion gets wiped out, it makes you not want to believe and lose hope and lose faith. It’s important to spread awareness and show that it’s okay and we just don’t want history to repeat itself.”

The Holocaust was an unprecedented genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, with the aim of annihilating the Jewish people.

During the deliberate, organized, state-sponsored persecution and machinelike murders, approximately six million European Jews and at least five million prisoners of war, Romany, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and other victims were killed.

Holocaust is a word of Greek origin. It means “burnt offering.”