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“Never again is now”: Holocaust survivor shares story with Bakersfield

Eva Perlman shared her story for one year anniversary of local Holocaust memorial
Posted at 7:12 PM, Feb 19, 2024
  • Video shows the Chabad of Bakersfield hosting a Holocaust survivor speaker event.
  • “Never again is now”– that’s the motto the Chabad of Bakersfield passes on to the community as they commemorate one year of their memorial.
  • Eva Perlman, Holocaust survivor and author, shared her story with the community at the commemoration event.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Six million. A number many members of the Jewish community can’t forget.

Six million is the number of Jews that were killed during the Holocaust.

The number of Jews that were killed in the Holocaust.

“We get focused on numbers. We lose sight of the humanity of the victims… These were people, they were mothers, fathers, babies, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers. They were teachers, doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers, dancers,” said Esther Schlanger with the Chabad of Bakersfield.

Chabad of Bakersfield recognizes this number with six million buttons, each representing a Jewish life lost.

“Looking at the variety of the buttons and how each one is so unique, it really puts that in perspective,” said Schlanger. “The humanity of each individual that perished in the Holocaust and we need to remember that.”

Now one year since opening the Central Valley Holocaust Memorial, over 200 guests visit the Chabad in commemoration.

But not only does the Chabad educate the community on those killed, but also the ones that survived World War II.

Eva Perlman is one of them. A Holocaust survivor and author, she shared her story of survival.

Through twists and turns of fate, her family was able to escape capture.

Perlman was born in 1932, “eight months before Hitler came to power,” she said.

Not long after, her parents received a letter, inviting them to Paris if things got worse in Germany.

“My father had the opportunity and he had the wisdom to take it,” Perlman said.

Forced to leave their home in Germany, her family began a long journey hiding in the mountains of southern France.

Perlman said her story is one of many miracles. For example, when they moved to Leon. Her mother, running late to her train stop, hopped on just in time.

“She looked out the window and she saw that the train had its own bridge. She ran one way across the bridge to the station and the train would go the other way on its own bridge, very close by,” said Perlman. “And she saw that the Germans had cordoned off both sides of the bridge that she had just crossed 15 minutes earlier.”

Or the time when the Nazis were looking for a place to sleep, and stumbled upon the house where Perlman and her mother were staying.

“And those two Germans stayed in the bedroom next to the three Jewish children for two weeks while my mother was sitting, staying at the window of the attic, not sleeping because she had no news from my father,” Perlman said.

At the time, her father was enlisted in the French underground.

Perlman shares many more of her ‘miracles’ in her book, “Eva’s Uncommon Life Guided by Miracles”.

Eva's Uncommon Life Guided by Miracles

At the end of sharing her story, Perlman told the crowd, “You become my eyewitnesses because my generation is the last one of the actual eyewitnesses, so you become the eyewitnesses. Don’t believe the deniers.”

Her story takes on added importance due to the conflict in the middle east.

Not to mention, anti-Israeli sentiments in the U.S.

“Never again is now”– that’s the motto the Chabad of Bakersfield passes on to the community.

Schlanger said, “Unfortunately in the times we are living in, we say never again is now. We need to take a look at what’s going on around us and take note.”

The Chabad thanks the Kern community for visiting and listening to Perlman’s story.

On top of commemorating the memorial’s first year, they share plans to expand.

“The one and only closed classroom, quite a big classroom, that will fit sixty children,” Rabbi Shmuli Schlanger said.

This classroom will be dedicated to educating future generations and hosting workshops.

The Chabad of Bakersfield invited the community to reach out either through their email info@chabadofbakersfield.com or phone number 661-834-1512 if they are interested in being a part of this project.

And for a deeper look at Perlman’s story both during and beyond the Holocaust, visit this link to her book, available on Amazon.

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