Chabad Center in Newport Beach Hosts Holocaust Survivor to Commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Holocaust survivor Joseph Alexander shows the number branded on his arm / photo by Charles Weinberg

On November 1, 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 60/7 to designate January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the UN and its member states have held Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps and to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism.

Another purpose of International Holocaust Remembrance Day: to promote Holocaust education throughout the world.

On Sunday, Jan. 29, the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Newport Beach held a sold-out International Holocaust Remembrance Day event featuring 100-year-old Holocaust survivor Joseph Alexander, who talked about what happened to him and millions of other Jews after the Nazis invaded Poland and replaced his name with a number: 14284, which is branded on his left arm.

Holocaust survivor Joseph Alexander talks to the audience at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Newport Beach / photo by Charles Weinberg

Born in Poland in 1922, Alexander was sent by the Nazis to 12 different concentration camps, including Dachau and Auschwitz. He survived a Nazi “death march.” The rest of his family (father, mother, sisters and brothers) was not so lucky. They all died at the hands of the Nazis.

Rabbi Reuven Mintz and Joseph Alexander / photo by Charles Weinberg

According to Alexander, he worked for his captors laying railroad tracks, digging potatoes and building dams, streets, sewers and roofs. He survived on bread, coffee, and soup, plus occasionally extra food from the civilians he worked with.

American troops liberated him in 1945. He immigrated to the United States in 1949 where he married and had two children.

In addition to Alexander’s presentation, Rabbi Reuven Mintz gave tours of the Chabad Center’s Holocaust museum, which contains artifacts donated by Mel Mermelstein, another Holocaust survivor who died last year. He had made many trips back to the concentration camps over the years and brought back artifacts.

For more information, visit https://www.jewishnewport.com.

Artifacts from the Holocaust at the Chabad Center’s museum / photo by Charles Weinberg
Holocaust survivor Joseph Alexander shows the number branded on his arm / photo by Charles Weinberg
Rabbi Reuven Mintz leads a tour of the Chabad Center’s Holocaust museum / photo by Charles Weinberg

 

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