Holocaust survivor Diny Adkins lived through horrors that most people can only imagine.
She described being part of a group crammed like cattle into a railroad car when she was only a little girl. She struggled to survive on her own in a cold forest. She saw Nazis shoot babies in her native Amsterdam.
Still, despite it all, Adkins, 73, has not lost her spirit. She has a streak of pink in her hair, wears big silver earrings and walks in western boots.
“I am a very happy person, very up,” she said.
On Sunday, Adkins, a Mount Pleasant resident, participated in the menorah lighting at the eighth annual Chanukah in the Square, which drew about 1,000 people to Marion Square.
“It’s a great event,” she said.
Adkins has told her story to churches, schools and other local groups. During her presentations she displays various items she has kept as a reminder from her time through the Holocaust. Adkins feels her main goal is to teach people how to love one another, to be tolerant of others and to help people.
“I am a real tough cookie,” she said.
“It brings pretty much everybody in the Jewish community together,” said Nicole Lubel of the Jewish Student Union/Hillel about the event. “And the free food. Everyone likes free food, right?”
The free eats included hamburgers, hotdogs, hot pretzels and cotton candy. But by far, the longest line was for the hot latkes. A band played jazz as kids bounced in a jump castle and rode ponies.
“Every year it gets bigger and bigger. It’s just fabulous,” said Alli Debrow, a teacher at Addlestone Hebrew Academy.
The event was sponsored by Piggly Wiggly Carolina, Berlin’s Restaurant Supply, the Eli Hyman Family and the T-Bonz Foundation. It was produced by City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Department of the College of Charleston with Chabad of the Lowcountry.