Michiana remembers: two Holocaust stories of survival
SOUTH BEND, In. -- All around the world on Thursday, the Jewish people are remembering a painful past and the more than six million people who perished in the Holocaust, more than 73 years ago.
But it's a memory, commemoration and message that holds true still today.
Two different countries.
Two different Holocaust survivors.
Two different stories, but one shared goal: to remember.
"We want to commemorate because we want to remember the people murdered, because their only sin...the only thing they did is to be Jewish. To be themselves," says Karin Wasserman.
Wasserman is from Israel.
ABC57's Hayley Fixler is from the United States.
But both are granddaughters if Holocaust survivors.
"I want to tell the story. I want to tell my grandfather's story. I want to be his voice," says Wasserman. "And the voice of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust."
"In 1944, we were the last transport that Eichmann wanted to get rid of us," adds Simon Fixler, Hayley's grandfather in a 1984 testimonial.
Wasserman shares her grandfather's story.
"He survived the Holocaust in Romania. He was five years old when he succeeded to escape the Nazis," she explains. "When he was only five years old, he saw his grandparents murdered in front of his eyes."
And Fixler shares her family story.
"40 or 50 cattle cars lined up. All full of people to ship them out to the concentration camp," recalls Simon Fixler in the testimonial. "He says, 'okay you dirty fellows, you go in here. When the doors opened up, it was all full of people."
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, both Fixler and Wasserman joined the millions around the world, taking a moment to remember.
But also taking a moment to learn and to educate, so that these horrors never happen again.
"The Holocaust didn't begin with the gas chambers. It began with words. And that's the concern," says Wasserman. "We need education. That's the only way to change things. To avoid anti-Semitism and racism. Itt's not just about the Jews. It's about black people, Mexicans, and it can be about anybody.
Wasserman says that message is more important now than ever before.
"I hear all of my students here in South Bend about anti-Semitism being in their schools. Anti-Semitism is still alive and here in America. It's scary," she says.
But there is something that everyone can remember.
"A person is a person. Not because of his color, his religion, or his anything," she explains. "To see them as a person. That's the most important thing."