Mayor Gary Christenson was honored to take part in this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Yom Hashoah, an annual observation that takes place around the world to honor the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. This year’s theme “Rededication to Resiliency” reflected the refurbishment of the glass panels of the New England Holocaust Memorial that were vandalized last summer. Also highlighted was the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, known as the “Night of Broken Glass” which was the orchestrated campaign preceding WWII to wreak havoc with anti-Jewish rioting and violence with the intent of eliminating entire Jewish communities.
Mayor Christenson, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Metan Zamir, Deputy Council General of Israel to New England and Consul General of Germany to New England Ralf Horelmann were among the featured speakers. Several Holocaust Survivors were in attendance including Steve Ross, and Israel and Anna Arbeiter, as were Ellsworth Rosen and Cranston Rogers who helped to liberate concentration camps during World War II. Mayor Christenson spoke about how the criminal act of breaking the glass panels of Boston’s Holocaust Memorial last summer served as a teachable moment in its aftermath. It brought Holocaust Survivor Israel “Izzy” Arbeiter to Malden and into the lives of students as he has visited Malden High School several times to tell his incredible story to hundreds of students. Izzy lost his parents and all but one of his five brothers to the gas chambers during the Holocaust. Mayor Christenson also had the privilege of introducing Esther Adler, a survivor of Kristallnacht, who provided testimony of her family’s terrible ordeal. Esther escaped Germany to Israel before coming to the United States. In 2015, she returned to Poland to film a documentary and speak about the Holocaust to teens to help them learn lessons from the past.
In addition, part of the ceremony was the recognition of two Malden’s High School students who won the Israel Arbeiter Holocaust Essay Contest. Senior Sherley Maximin took first place honors and Junior Joanne Ho took third place for their essays. (To read both winning essays, click below.)
The restoration of panels on the Memorial demonstrates the resilience of the Jewish people and that we must ensure that future generations never forget the unspeakable suffering and loss of life during the Holocaust.
Released by the Office of Mayor Gary Christenson
Photos by City of Malden