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Holocaust remembrance to focus on youth experience

Though a diary left behind by a young woman named Anne Frank is perhaps the best known of all Holocaust-era memoirs, the writings of many other teens and even young children also survived that terrible time, providing a unique perspective on both their suffering and their survival skills.

This timely topic will be the focus of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom HaShoah) commemoration taking place on Sunday, April 12 at 4 p.m. at Temple Beth Israel in Pomona.

The centerpiece of the program will be the screening of the film I’m Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust, originally produced by MTV Networks.

This compelling documentary, featuring appearances by Elijah Wood, Ryan Gosling, Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson, Brittany Murphy, Amber Tamblyn and Joaquin Phoenix, brings to life the diaries of young people who witnessed first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust.

Through an emotional montage of archival footage, personal photos and text from the diaries themselves, the film celebrates a group of brave young writers who refused to quietly disappear.

Given the tension locally in the past year centered on the approach taken to teach Holocaust- related material in local junior high and high schools, this year’s presentation is especially appropriate for students seeking to understand the Holocaust through the eyes of those who were their contemporaries—teens and other school-aged children.

While Anne Frank’s celebrated diary is included in the story told by the film, it is also placed within the context of a much broader experience.

A companion musical program will include contributions from Cantor Paul Buch and pianist Dr. Randy Polevoi. There will also be remarks by Rabbi Jonathan Kupetz and contributions from other members of the TBI community, including author and poet R. Gabriele Silten, a child survivor of the internment camp a Terezin (Theresianstadt).

Memorial candles will be lit to remember the six million Jewish victims of the Shoah (Hebrew for “holocaust”) and the nearly six million other victims of Nazi atrocities. The program is co-sponsored by Temple Beth Israel and the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.

For further information, contact Cantor Paul Buch through the Temple office at (909) 626-1277 or tbi@tbipomona.org.

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