Five Holocaust survivors shared their stories during the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Desert Dove Chapel, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 24.
The ceremony invited Airmen to listen to personal stories of Holocaust survivors, and to participate in a candle lighting to memorialize the 6 million Jews and millions of others that lost their lives during the genocide.
Annique Dveirin, Holocaust survivor, recalled her parents’ hardship while Germans occupied her hometown in Poland during World War II.
“I was about four years old when my parents gave me to a lovely Polish woman who was Catholic,” Dveirin said. “My father thankfully survived the war. We moved to Bielsko-Bia?a in southern Poland and many cities in France, where I stayed in different orphanages while he worked before we came to the United States in 1951.”
Annique Dveirin had a false identity during the war, and made it from Poland to France, then to the U.S., where she became a French and English language teacher, as well as a speaker for other Holocaust observance ceremonies.
This ceremony concluded with a reading of “The Butterfly” by Pavel Friedmann, a Jewish Czechoslovakian who died in the Auschwitz concentration camp. During the reading, butterflies were released to signify hope, transformation and freedom.
“The butterflies represented those who knew they were not going to survive,” said Tech. Sgt. Megan Smith, 355th Fighter Wing Equal Opportunity superintendent. “That even though their bodies were not going to make it, their souls would live on forever in another form.”