Six million Jews and millions of others were brutally and systematically murdered by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust.
Behind these staggering numbers are millions of individual lives--unique stories that must be told.
With each year that passes, we move closer to a world without survivors and eyewitnesses--the people who are best able to tell these stories. It is up to us to make sure that their experiences are not forgotten. We must keep their memory alive.
For 20 years, this has been the mission of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. This year, as we mark our 20th anniversary, we're calling on people around the world to join us by pledging to tell the story of one victim of the Holocaust.
This promise begins with you. Pledge to tell one story--to keep one person's experience from fading into history and to ensure the world never forgets.
Below are three examples of stories that must be told:
Barbara Lederman -- the oldest of two -- was born in Berlin in 1925 to a Jewish family. Her father was a prominent local lawyer, but in 1933, with new antisemitic laws, her father's practice collapsed. The Lederman family was forced to flee to the Netherlands, where they had relatives. When the Germans invaded the Netherlands and began deporting Jews, friends of the Ledermans helped the family obtain false IDs. Barbara and her family hid in Amsterdam until 1945, when Canadian troops liberated the city. In 1947, Barbara immigrated to the United States.
Beno Helmer was born in Czechoslovakia, but spent his high school years in Budapest, and as the persecution of Jews rose, Beno's parents fled to Budapest to meet him. Faced with deportation, the family tried to bribe a Hungarian official to help them but their plan backfired. The Helmers were sent to Lodz ghetto in Poland, where people died on a daily basis. Beno was later sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto, and the Auschwitz and Buchenwald camps -- and survived. After the war, he helped track down war criminals before settling in the US in 1947.
Wladyslaw Piotrowski was born to Catholic parents in Poland. In 1932, Wladyslaw organized a farming cooperative with local landowners in the rural town of Wyszogrod. When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, the cooperative was taken over. Wladyslaw and the employees were ordered to stay. On April 6, 1940, the German police arrested Wladyslaw and his eldest son at home. Wladyslaw was eventually told to go home, but his son was among those deported to concentration camps. After, Wladyslaw joined the Polish resistance. In 1942 he was arrested and tortured and later publicly hanged by the Germans along with 12 other prisoners.
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