PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dozens of Holocaust survivors and their families visited the newly opened Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza Wednesday on the Ben Franklin Parkway. It was an emotional step back in time for the visitors.
“In one sense this is the desperate nature of people trying to get that last moment of life,” said tour guide Dr. Michael Berenbaum.
Some 40 area Holocaust survivors and their families were visiting the newly opened Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza.
A statue along the parkway was dedicated in 1964 and now it is surrounded by even more reminders of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust.
Historian and scholar Dr. Michael Berenaum served as the day’s tour guide, he helped to conceptualize the newly designed memorial plaza.
“We were given the task of re-imagining the place for a generation that did not have the immediate memories,” said Dr. Berenaum.
“I’m a child survivor,” said Laura Aberlander.
For Laura Aberlander it’s an extremely personal and emotional reminder of a time she lived through.
“It brings back a lot of memories. Although I was very young I do remember everything that happened to me. I had a sister she was killed 11 years old and the whole family,” said Aberlander.
These families getting a glimpse of train tracks which represent the main mode of transportation for victims being lead into concentration camps.
For Larry and Jonathan Hirsch whose father and grandfather were Holocaust survivors, it’s a moving family moment.
“It’s a solemn moment. The opportunity to share with my son, he’s a third generation” said Jonathan Hirsch.
“It’s very impressive and I hope many people will come for many, many years to see what it is like,” said Aberlander.