PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thursday is Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time to reflect and honor the lives lost in one of the most horrific times in world history. A somber Holocaust Remembrance Day is taking on an extra sense of urgency this year.
Rabbi Eli Freedman of Rodeph Shalom continues to keep the imagery alive.READ MORE: Amber Alert Issued For Missing Philadelphia 2-Year-Old Byron McDonald, Alleged Abductor Wanted In Connection To Recent Homicides
Simple math would tell you most of the survivors of the concentration camps in 1945 are now gone.
“What we’re finding now more and more is that those survivors are less and less and the ones that are coming to speak, they were mostly children during the Holocaust,” Freedman said.
That includes Judith Samet, a survivor who spoke during a program from the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition.
He says he and a friend would frantically search the camps for food.
“At first, we would go around the corpses out of respect. But then maybe a week, we’d go over the corpses and I could actually hear their ribs cracking,” Samet said.READ MORE: Flyers Sign Forward Scott Laughton To Five-Year Contract Extension
A major message of this year’s remembrance is to look around us. Many Eyewitness News spoke with see the propaganda tactics the Nazis used successfully reappearing in 2021 as hate crimes nationally and locally continue on an upward trajectory.
Crimes against Jews account for over 62% of reported incidents of hate crimes, according to the latest FBI statistics.
Rabbis are calling for all to stand together.
“Friends, it is easy to come together and say never again. It is hard to actually do something to see, prevent and stop the oppression of minorities, whether in this or in any county,” said Rabbi Ron Muroff with the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition.
“As much as Jews need to stand up to antisemitism we actually need our co-religionist, we need the other folks to stand up even more just as we do,” Freedman said.MORE NEWS: Berwyn Native Brad Ingelsby On HBO's 'Mare Of Easttown': 'I Got To Work With Kate Winslet And Do It At Home'
Samet is a member of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were murdered three years ago. He says he was four minutes late to service that day.