“It all started with words” is the theme of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, as Congregation Beth Shalom of the SCV recalls the 6 million men, women and children who perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War II and the huge increase in antisemitism that has gripped the U.S. and the world over the past few years.
Holocaust survivor David Lenga, 96, and 2022 UCLA graduate Chloe Levian will discuss how the words, violence and hate-filled protests of today in many ways mirror the antisemitic actions of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and what our community must learn and be aware of as hate crimes have skyrocketed over the past five years across the United States. The presentation on Sunday is hosted by the CBS Mens Club.
Lenga was born in Poland, and as a teenager witnessed the Nazi invasion of his country in September 1939. Out of his large, extended family, only he and his father survived. Lenga escaped from the Auschwitz death camp and survived two other camps, escaping sure death several times.
A resident of the United States and the San Fernando Valley since the late 1950s, he is a writer, author and actor who speaks five languages and travels around the country and the world speaking about the Holocaust and the troubling signs he sees today that strongly remind him of his past life in Europe.
Levian’s family fled Iran during the revolution in the late 1970s. She attended UCLA, where she witnessed repeated incidents of antisemitism on campus. Upon graduation, she joined “Stand With Us,” which provides antisemitism education and information to over 150 colleges and universities, as well as to high schools and middle schools across the country, all of which have seen dramatic increases in antisemitic attacks over the past several years.
The event is open to the community and in addition to the speakers, a candle-lighting ceremony, readings and prayers will also be part of the program. The event will be held at Congregation Beth Shalom, 21430 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For additional information, contact Hal Dash at 661-312-7086, Josh Kaplan at 818-294-0317 or the Congregation Beth Shalom office at 661-254-2411.