Survivor to speak of life in Jewish ghetto
FAIRFIELD — As one of the oldest Holocaust commemorations in the area, Fairfield’s annual event has also grown to be one of the largest.
This year, the April 25 event will feature Endra Sarkany, a New Haven resident and survivor of the Jewish ghetto in Budapest during Adolf Hitler’s reign, and an original poem written by Fairfield Warde High School junior Michelle Awad.
“The Holocaust Commemoration sponsored by the town of Fairfield is a beautiful and moving service that attracts people not just from Fairfield, but also from many surrounding towns and cities,” George Markley, co-chairman of the Holocaust Commemoration Committee, said. “It has grown because those attending understand how important it is that we never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust and that we retain the memory of the Holocaust, even now more than 70 years after the end of ‘the Shoa.’ ”
Markley said people attend the event at First Church Congregational because they understand there are still genocides happening around the world, and that prejudice and hatred have not yet been eliminated. “I believe that every person who attends this commemoration, simply by being there, is trying to make a statement: ‘I remember; I will not forget; I will do my part to make certain this never happens again,’ ” he said.
Sarkany came to the committee’s attention through the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center in Westchester, N.Y., Markely said, and was recommended by one of the past speakers at the commemoration.
“We invited Mr. Sarkany to be our speaker because we were drawn to his story of survival as a child in the Jewish ghetto in Budapest, Hungary, as well as the optimism which he brings to his story,” Markley said. He said Sarkany, who immigrated to the United States after the 1956 Hungarian uprising, has a “tremendous admiration and appreciation” for the U.S., “an appreciation founded on having lived through not only the Nazis’ occupation of Hungary during World War II, but also the Communist regime which came into power after the war, both of which were brutal and dehumanizing.”
The event is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, at First Church Congregational, 148 Beach Road.
Speaker: Endre Sarkany
This year, the committee reached out to Fairfield schools for an original poem to be read at the event, and Awad’s “The Unforgettable Act” was chosen. In addition, survivors and children of survivors will participate in a candle-lighting ceremony.
Musical selections will be performed by the Chamber Singers of the Fairfield County Children’s Choir and the Fairfield Warde Chamber Orchestra.
Admission is free. A reception with refreshments will follow.