Holocaust Memorial at the California Legion of Honor in San Francisco (Photo/Library of Congress-Carol M. Highsmith)
Holocaust Memorial at the California Legion of Honor in San Francisco (Photo/Library of Congress-Carol M. Highsmith)

San Francisco to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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The JFCS Holocaust Center will be holding a series of events to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 26-27 in San Francisco. The day was designated in 2005 by the U.N. General Assembly to honor the victims of the Holocaust, mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and promote Holocaust education throughout the world.

Anita Friedman, executive director of JFCS and a member of the Governor’s Council for Holocaust and Genocide Education, said in a statement, “The alarming, dangerous rise of antisemitism is not only a danger to the Jewish people, it is a warning to other communities and a threat to democracy. It is more vital than ever that atrocities from the past are remembered and lessons from them are learned.”

On Thursday at 6 p.m., a free event called “Legacy and Responsibility: The Essential Act of Sharing our Family Histories” will be held at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, 2150 Post St. Local community leaders and descendants of Holocaust survivors will discuss the Jewish responsibility to tell family stories and confront antisemitism.

At noon Friday, Holocaust survivor and author George Elbaum will share his testimony in a webinar, with an introduction by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. Elbaum was a year old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. When he was 4, his mother smuggled him out of the Warsaw Ghetto and paid different Polish Catholic families to hide and raise him until 1945 when the war ended. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1949 when he was 11 and today is a member of JFCS’ William J. Lowenberg Speakers Bureau.

On Friday at 6 p.m., the Consulate General of Portugal, American Jewish Committee (AJC) and JFCS Holocaust Center will host a free screening of the film “The Consul of Bordeaux” at JCCSF, 3200 California St. The 90-minute film, which has been described as a Portuguese version of “Schindler’s List,” is based on the true story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches, a Portuguese diplomat who defied direct orders from his government and issued an estimated 30,000 visas and passports to those fleeing Nazi persecution, including 10,000 Jews. The event will start with a reception featuring Portuguese wines and small bites by Uma Casa and conclude with a discussion following the film.