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Students Honor Holocaust Experiences

 Holocaust Remembrance Day photo show on stage with speaker at the side of stageThe North Salem and Somers communities recently gathered to observe Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). The Somers Holocaust Memorial Commission holds this annual event to further its mission to perpetuate and commemorate the memory of the Holocaust, promote respect for human rights, and fight genocide, bigotry, and hatred.

The keynote speaker, Ellen Kaidanow, recounted her mother-in-law's journey from surviving in the Dubno ghetto, hiding in Radziwillow, Poland, living in a German displaced person camp, and finally immigrating to the United States, all before her thirteenth birthday.

"I was extremely moved by Ms. Kaidanow's sharing of her mother-in-law's survivor story. Hearing first hand, her personal experience, was eye opening and touching,” said sophomore Olivia Kasden.

Somers High School chorus, band and orchestra, and the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance performed at the evening event held at Somers High School. Local clergy offered blessings and assisted with the candle-lighting memorial service.

The Somers Holocaust Memorial Commission is a community-based organization founded by Holocaust survivors and their families in 1993. The commission has awarded scholarships to Somers and North Salem seniors who have demonstrated a commitment to human rights issues and sponsored teacher trips to Holocaust sites to further the understanding of complex topics.

North Salem students Jaiden Donovan, Eowyn Keenan, and Sarah Cassidy won Fred Bachner Student Project Awards for their meaningful art projects.

"It was an honor to participate in the program and to be awarded by the Somers Holocaust Memorial Commission,” said sophomore Sarah Cassidy. “To see my project being looked at by many people, especially by those who have bore witness to what my project was about, gave me a great sense of pride."