Utah’s Jewish community is marking Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day

Posted at 7:40 PM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 00:16:19-04

Liesel Shineberg was a six years old Jewish girl living in Nazi Germany in the World War II era.

"My generation is dying out and if we don't speak, who will speak after us," said Shineberg.

She says her parents, fearing for their safety, worked with a couple in Holland to sneak her and her brother out of Germany using another child's passport. Heartbroken, she remembers her brother threatening her not to cry as they left their parents behind.

In the days that followed, she found a note her mother had hidden inside a flute.

"Please remember that we love you, even if we don't see you again," Shineberg recalls the note read.

She shared her story at the Jewish Community Center in Salt Lake City for Yom Hashoa (Holocaust Remembrance). Around a hundred people hung on every word as she recounted a personal experience that is fading as her generation ages.

"My generation is dying out and if we don't speak, who will speak after us," said Shineberg.

Though painful to look back on one of he darkest times in modern history, remembering our past can help shape our future. It was part of the message Rabbi Benny Zipple from the Chanda Lubavitch of Utah wanted to share.

"Not stepping foot into God's shoes and God forbid taking on the decision as to who deserves to live and who doesn't deserve to live," said Rabbi Zippel.

Several speakers noted the current situation for Muslim refugees seeking a way to come to the U.S. being analogous to Jewish refugees in the past.

Liesel's story had a happier ending than most. She was reunited with her parents in Holland and eventually able to immigrate to the United States.

"I'm very grateful to be in this country. Believe me, it's allowed me to live my life," said Shineberg.

A life story she continues to share for one simple reason.

"Those were times that should never be forgotten," said Shineberg.