Sunday, June 17, 2018
News Roundup

Descendants of Holocaust survivors and Nazi sympathizers speak in remembrance

TAMPA — One grew up in fear, the other in silence.

Both carried the burdens of their ancestors and found solace in speaking to someone on the opposite side.

Together, the daughter of Holocaust survivors and the granddaughter of Nazi sympathizers spoke to a crowd gathered Sunday at the Italian Club of Tampa in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The United Nations set Jan. 27, the date Allied troops liberated the Auschwitz death camp in 1945, to honor the memory of Holocaust victims. The program, organized by the Tampa Bay Consular Corps, included speeches from survivors and descendants, city and county proclamations, a candle lighting ceremony and music.

For Bonnie Stein, growing up as the daughter of Holocaust survivors meant growing up in fear of Germans. It meant never complaining about being tired or hungry or else hearing stories of how her mother would've done anything for cooked peas after digging ditches for hours in a concentration camp at the age of 14.

"I had nightmares of things I had never seen," Stein told the audience. "Concentration camps. Beatings. Showers with poison gas falling on me. Dogs attacking me ... . As children of Holocaust survivors, we inherit fears that do not belong to us."

She learned about the Nazis after coming home from first grade. It was the first day of school, and all the other children talked about spending the summer with their grandparents. Stein asked her mother why she didn't have any grandparents. The answer caused her mother to break out in tears: All four were killed during the Holocaust.

After moving to Redington Shores in 1997, Stein would eventually become a docent at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg. She carried with her a fear of visiting Germany until she heard about One-by-One, a nonprofit co-founded by Dr. Martina Emme that brings together descendants of Holocaust survivors and Nazi perpetrators.

Emme, a German from Berlin whose grandfather was a Nazi sympathizer, was raised in a home where the Holocaust was not mentioned. Any questions she asked were rebuked.

"The Holocaust is a wound still bleeding," Emme said Sunday. "To say, 'I am German,' makes me feel ashamed. There is shame and guilt in it."

Though she was born after World War II, Emme explained what she called the "second guilt:" living in a society where the Holocaust was not acknowledged. Germans hid from the truth instead of finding a way to heal and move past it, she said. They built a culture out of collective denial.

As Emme began to discover her family's link to the Holocaust, she saw it as her obligation to learn more. She said she's still trying to learn the details but that it's clear her grandfather was a member of the Nazi military and took part in Aryanization, taking ownership of property or a business Jews were forced to leave.

"I am a descendant of Nazi Germany ... there is no way to hide that," Emme said. "The Holocaust is terrible, horrible and can't be forgiven. Never. I can't change the past, but I can stand for the opposite way of my ancestors."

Phyllis Roth of Tampa was invited to Sunday's event by a friend. Though she's visited Germany and grew up in Miami hearing stories from Holocaust survivors, she had never listened to a Nazi descendant discuss the Holocaust.

"She spoke so much from the heart, it touched me." Roth said. "The way she said it can never be forgiven, that struck me. Because I've always felt that way, but I wondered if I was wrong. If we should forgive. But how can you forgive such horrendous things?"

Roth, who is Jewish and was moved to tears, said she appreciated how the program highlighted stories from all sides. And though it was a difficult afternoon, she was thankful to hear the stories and see such a diverse group come together to keep the memories alive.

"I think it's beautiful," Roth said. "There's no other way to explain it. I feel this sort of thing in my soul."

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.

Comments
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

The Trump administration’s move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has grabbed attention around the world, drawn scorn from human-rights organizations and overtaken the immigration debate in Congress.It’s also...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

NEW PORT RICHEY — A motorcyclist and pedestrian both died in a crash Saturday night near Palmetto Road and U.S. 19, police reported.About 10:30 p.m., a St. Petersburg man, 41, was riding a 2012 Honda motorcycle north on the highway, according to the ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

UPDATE, 11:37: Interesting decision by the Rays to move Adames to 2B today and reinstall Hechavarria at SS as he came off DL following Arroyo injury.Here is the Rays lineup:Duffy 3bBauers 1bRamos cCron dhAdames 2bHechavarria ssGomez rfRefsnyder lfFie...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Chicago soldier killed in Korea finally being laid to rest

Chicago soldier killed in Korea finally being laid to rest

CHICAGO — Not long after her father went missing during the Korean War, Carol Elkin spotted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in downtown Chicago and did what any kid might do when coming face to face with the nation’s most famous soldier: She ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

TRENTON, N.J — Shooting broke out at an all-night art festival in Trenton, New Jersey, early Sunday, sending people stampeding from the scene and leaving one suspect dead and 20 people injured, a local prosecutor said. Many of the 20 injured were tre...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Published: 06/16/18

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., June 17, midday:xx xxx xxxxe_SRitxxxxxSun., June 17, evening:xx xxx xxxxe_SRitxxxxxFantasy 5Sunday...
Published: 06/16/18
Hurricane Maria family resettles in Riverview, only to be left homeless by lightning strike

Hurricane Maria family resettles in Riverview, only to be left homeless by lightning strike

RIVERVIEW — It was the most routine of errands, shopping for a cooler and some shorts. Joel Jaca and Arelys Gomez, both 40, had turned an important corner, miles away from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. They had finally gotten out of their re...
Published: 06/16/18