PASADENA, Calif., Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Holocaust survivor Mala Langholz was guest speaker January 31 at a forum at the Church of Scientology of Pasadena in observance of United Nations International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
Mr. Nat Nehdar, Pasadena Human Relations Commissioner, was master of ceremonies of the program that was organized by the Church of Scientology in collaboration with Los Angeles-based Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR).
The United Nations set aside January 27th to commemorate the Holocaust, marking the day in 1945 that Soviet soldiers liberated the notorious Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. It is estimated that at least 1.1 million people were murdered in this camp.
In an article published by the Jewish Journal in last year's commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Ms. Lanholz said it was only by the will of God and the humanity of those around her that she survived her ordeal.
Born in 1931 in Lodz, Poland, she was the second youngest of six children. Her family was gathered up and relocated to a ghetto where her father was murdered by a member of the SS. Not long afterwards they were all rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Of the 60 members of her extended family, 58 were murdered.
In her story in the Jewish Journal, she said, "The horrors of Auschwitz will always live in my memory. I remember classical music playing to camouflage the cries of those in the gas chambers. Each evening, instead of saying good night to each other, we would say goodbye, not knowing whether we would live through the night. I'd often wake up to find a frozen or starved body next to mine."
The Nazis would line them up to determine who would go to the gas chambers next. "At that critical moment, the older women in the camp would lift me—a child of just 11-years old—up on their shoulders so that I'd look older. They saved my life," she said.
She also described the German supervisor at the munitions plant where they worked who risked his life by giving her extra food and hiding her when the SS came through to inspect.
In his speech in honor of this day, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "On this day of Holocaust remembrance, I urge everyone to denounce political and religious ideologies that set people against people. Let us rededicate ourselves to promoting the universal values of the United Nations and working together for a world of peace, security, social progress and dignity for all."
Representatives from other religious organizations and human rights advocates in the Pasadena area joined Nehdar and the Lanholzes at the event held in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
The event was based on the UN's theme, "The Holocaust and Human Dignity," selected by the U.N. to reaffirm the founding principles of the United Nations of faith in the dignity, the worth of every person and the right to live free from discrimination and with equal protection under the law as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"We are honored to host this commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust," said Eden Stein, President of the Church of Scientology of Pasadena. "This day calls for a remembrance of past crimes with an eye towards preventing them in the future." She also hopes the event will educate people about more recent incidents of persecution which continue to occur in different parts of the world today.
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SOURCE Church of Scientology of Pasadena