Dozens honored in Plainview for Holocaust Survivor Day
Thursday marked the first-ever international Holocaust Survivor Day -- a day to pay tribute to the extraordinary contributions of survivors and to celebrate the lives they built, despite the evil they endured.
A ceremony at the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview honored and celebrated the survivors.
"Today is not about what they went through in the early part of their life, it's truly about them. They raised families, they've opened businesses, they've been productive members of society, and they need some recognition for that," said Rick Lewis, chief executive of Mid-Island Y JCC.
Holocaust Survivor Day honors Auschwitz survivor Marian Turski, whose birthday falls on June 26. It's being celebrated two days earlier this year because of Shabbat.
The goal of the holiday is to spark a worldwide annual event that keeps the legacies of the last generation of survivors in mind.
Sami Steigmann was sent to a labor camp with his parents when he was just 8 years old. He says because he was too young to work, he was subject to Nazi medical experimentation.
The 81-year-old still feels side effects every single day.
"Although I am in constant pain, you will not see it on my face," said Steigmann.
He says he wants to educate the younger generations about the Holocaust.
"To motivate them to be the best that they can be. To empower them, to become outstanders not bystanders," he said.
Lotti Hess and her husband Werner are both Holocaust survivors, but she says she tries to not to think about that time in their lives.
"You live your life, you live every day and you're thankful that we survived," she said.
There were roughly 50 Holocaust survivors at the Plainview event.