Scores remember Holocaust

More than 100 people walk silently down Meeting Street from Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Reform synagogue to Marion Square in downtown Charleston to remember Holocaust victims on Sunday.

Felicia Carmelly, a Holocaust survivor and author, recalled watching a young mother prick her breast with a pin to feed blood to her starving child while she was on a train from Romania to a camp for Jews.

She was the keynote speaker at the annual Holocaust remembrance service at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Reform synagogue Sunday. About 200 people packed the synagogue for the service. The majority of them joined a silent march down Meeting Street to the Holocaust Memorial in Marion Square.

Carmelly shared some of the stories she has chronicled in her book, “Shattered! 50 Years of Silence: History and Voices of the Tragedy in Romania and Transnistria.”

Transnistria was a region of the former Soviet Union by Romania that the Germans turned into deportation camps for Jews. Carmelly was taken there in 1941 when she was 10 years old.

Carmelly also recalled a young mother dropping her baby in the river on the barge between the train from Poland and the camp. She wasn’t sure if it was an accident or a mercy killing. “This is one of the nightmares that I still have to this day,” she said.

The service included children reading poems written during the Holocaust that were also set to music, with a string quartet accompanying mezzo-soprano Janet Hopkins. Hundreds of names of family members lost during the Holocaust were read aloud.

Rabbi Yossie Refson concluded the service at the Holocaust Memorial after the march. “Today we say to the souls of your people lost in Europe’s dark night, we will never forget,” he said. “Though you destroyed a third of our people, you did not destroy our faith.”

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.