CITY OF NEWARK HOLDS 26th ANNUAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY
For Immediate Release
CITY OF NEWARK HOLDS
26th ANNUAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY
State’s largest and oldest observance remembers victims of Nazi World War II era-genocide and recognizes Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg
Newark, NJ – May 2, 2013 – Mayor Cory A. Booker and the Newark Holocaust Remembrance Committee held the City of Newark’s 26th Annual Holocaust Remembrance, yesterday at the Robert Treat Hotel, located at 50 Park Place in Newark’s Downtown. The City of Newark’s Annual Holocaust Observance, now in its third decade, is the state’s largest and oldest observance. The observance is a solemn act in remembrance of all those affected by the Nazi genocide that took place from 1933 to 1945. More than 50 New Jersey Holocaust Survivors were able to attend this year’s ceremony which was the sixth observance Mayor Booker presided over.
Serving as the event’s keynote speaker wasEdward Mosberg, of Union, New Jersey. Born in Krakow, Poland, his family was deported to the infamous Plaszow Concentration Camp, made famous by the Academy Award-winning movie “Schindler’s List.” Mr. Mosberg was also imprisoned at Mauthausen Concentration Camp, where American and British Prisoners of War were executed by the SS, in violation of international law. Mr. Mosberg lost 16 members of his family to the Nazis. As the war came to an end, SS troops marched Mr. Mosberg and other prisoners to caves, where they were to be sealed in with dynamite. However, the explosives did not go off, and Mr. Mosberg was liberated. He returned to Krakow, married his girlfriend, came to America after the war, and went into the construction business, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Today, he lives in Union, and lectures to youth audiences on his experiences in the Holocaust.
Mayor Booker said in his remarks, “We are honored to have Edward Mosberg as our keynote speaker. Faced with appalling horror and oppression, he manifested courage and resilience, enabling him to survive the Holocaust. He is a beautiful soul, a true ‘mensch,’ a survivor who tells his story so that we can be agents of peace, love, and justice, in a world filled with turmoil. From his life, we draw inspiration to continue to fight against racism, tyranny, and injustice. We are reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”
After his opening remarks, Mayor Booker, master of ceremonies Rabbi Clifford Kulwin of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, Rabbi Levi Block of Newark Chabad, Mr. Mosberg, and Holocaust survivors in attendance lit three Candles of Remembrance on the podium. Pastor Welber Dos Santos of Newark’s Assembly of God delivered the closing prayer. Following the ceremony, Mr. Mosberg was presented with a proclamation from the City of Newark.
In his keynote address, Mr. Mosberg displayed artifacts from the Holocaust, including pieces of barbed wire from Nazi concentration camps, a brick from the Auschwitz crematorium where his mother perished, a concentration camp prisoner’s striped uniform, and a rubber whip used by the SS to beat prisoners. “I was beaten by four SS men with a whip just like this,” Mr. Mosberg said, holding it up for the audience. “They kicked me unconscious. Then they poured water on me. I can feel it now, 70 years later.”
At Mauthausen, as a teenager, Mr. Mosberg was one of thousands of prisoners who were to be “exterminated by labor,” carrying 100-pound stones up a 186-step “Staircase of Death” from a quarry to its top. Prisoners would collapse from hunger and exhaustion on the steps, tumble down, and knock other prisoners to their deaths as well. The SS guards would also push prisoners from the top of the steps over the 150-foot “Parachute Cliff,” to their deaths, either as punishment for violating the many and often-changing camp rules, or for their own amusement.
“Try to imagine what it was like to be one of those prisoners,” Mr. Mosberg said. “No one knows. I wish I could say it never happened. But it did. I saw it.”
In May 1945, with the US 7th Army advancing on the camp, the Nazis sought to cover their crimes by marching the surviving prisoners to the caves and tunnels, intending to seal the prisoners in the caves with explosives. However, the explosives did not go off – they may have been sabotaged by Polish prisoners – and the 11th Armored Division liberated the camp on May 5, 1945. Out of the 320,000 prisoners held at Mauthausen during the war, only 80,000 survived captivity.
“As long as I live, it is my duty to tell the truth about the atrocities I lived through,” Mr. Mosberg said.
“The City of Newark’s Holocaust Remembrance educates children from various Newark schools on the terrible history of the Holocaust. It further teaches them tolerance and the ability to get along with others,” said Miles Berger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Berger Organization, which owns the Robert Treat Hotel and helped sponsor the event. “We were honored to host this important event at our property.”
“As part of the Newark community, we are delighted and honored to participate to a commemoration which is so important and means so much to so many families,” said Paul Bensabat, Co-CEO of The Manischewitz Company.
“The stories of the Holocaust are familiar, but equally chilling each time you hear one,” said Rabbi Kulwin, whose Temple B’nai Abraham was in Newark for 120 years before moving to Livingston 40 years ago. “You get angry and ask, ‘How could this happen?’ The answer is that for evil to benefit, good must do nothing. Each of us must resolve: do not hate others, do not abuse others, but when you see injustice, see that it is undone.”
More than 200 students from the following schools that are studying the Holocaust as part of their curriculum attended this year’s ceremony: Oliver Street School, Louise A. Spencer School, University High School, Weequahic High School, and Ironbound Catholic School.
After the ceremony, students had time to talk to Mr. Mosberg and the Holocaust survivors and hear their stories over a kosher luncheon. The stories of the elderly men and women, who were children during the Holocaust, resonated with their listeners.
“I didn’t know how people got through the Holocaust,” said Aljaquan Hooper, a 9th grader at Newark Prep. “We talk in class about the Holocaust and watch videos, but it’s nothing compared to hearing from someone who survived it. I’m honored to be in Mr. Mosberg’s presence. Hearing from him makes me grateful for my life.”
Another Weequahic senior, Owura Jackson, said, “It was very emotional. I was touched by what he heard and what he said. I learned a lot today. Sometimes I hear people joke about the Holocaust or say that it didn’t happen. He saw it happen. I’m grateful that I get to live where everything is smooth and peaceful, and we don’t have events like the Holocaust.
The observance also featured a musical performance by violist Vincent Neill, an 11th-grader who is studying music at Newark School of the Arts, Sponsors included: Holocaust Council of Metro West, The Berger Organization, LLC, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Edison Properties, LLC, Sol Batesh, Temple B’nai Abraham of Livingston, and Manischewitz. Participating private schools included St. Vincent Academy, St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, and Christ the King Preparatory School, all of Newark. Participating Newark Public Schools were Weequahic High School, University High School, and Science Park High School. There were also nine students from New Jersey CSY Youth Movement.
For information on this or any other municipal program, contact the City of Newark’s Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.
About the City of Newark, New Jersey
Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.
For the past seven years under the Booker Administration, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, and businesses are returning. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation.