Norwich Jewish Center to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day; Helen Sperling to be honored

NORWICH - The Norwich Jewish Center is hosting an event to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day this weekend.

The event is set for Sunday, April 23, 2017, to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day at 2 p.m.

Per a release from the Norwich Jewish Center, every year, Jews mark the anniversary of the death of loved ones. To mourn them and to commemorate the loss of all who perished, a special day has been set aside – Yom HaShoah – a day when the entire community gathers to remember and reflect.

“Whether through strength, determination, or fate, survivors transitioned from darkness to light, rebuilding their lives and communities. Although their experiences during the war marked them forever, we are proud of their courage, resilience and fortitude, and the world they have created. We thank all survivors, who are our inspiration, for teaching each generation that despite trauma and sadness, life must – and can- continue,” read the release.

The Norwich Jewish Center will show the video of the late Helen Sperling.

Helen was a survivor who turned the anguish of the Holocaust and her pain into a positive instrument for education through a lecture series. The lecture series began in 1967, initially known as the Annual Holocaust Lecture series, it was later named for Helen and her husband Leon.

From 1968 until her death in 2015 at the age of 95, she shared her life and experiences with thousands of people: in schools, universities, prisons, clubs and churches.

Helen spoke at the Norwich High School in 2008, after the Norwich Jewish Center was desecrated by 3 Norwich Middle School students.

Helen permitted only one of her speeches to be recorded, allowing her story to be continued.

The Norwich Jewish Center is privileged to show her story this Sunday at 2 p.m.

“Helen Sperling will always be remembered by her challenge to “Never Be A Bystander”. Helen believed that the worst part of being in the concentration camps was the feeling of being powerless,” read the release. “ She tried to teach people never to abuse power and to protect those who could not protect them themselves.”

Holocaust Remembrance Day is open to the public and free of charge.

Donations will be accepted for the Helen Sperling Memorial Fund.

“Never Be A Bystander” wristbands will be available for those making a donation.

Weather permitting; we will plant a lilac tree in Helen’s memory.

Helen spoke lovingly of the lilacs at her childhood home, which she lost to the Nazis.

The Jewish Center is located at 72 South Broad Street in Norwich.

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