Every year, at the Annual Gathering of Remembrance, the Museum brings thousands together to say with one collective voice: we will never forget. Rooted in a city with one of the world’s largest communities of Holocaust survivors, this Yom HaShoah tribute has power that echoes across generations.

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Co-Chairs: Rita Lerner and Ann Oster.

Committee Members: Melissa Berger, Alyssa Greengrass, Lucy Horowitz, Lauren Jacobs, Jennifer Klein, Eliese Lissner, Alissa Rozen, Seth Weisleder, and Ben Zurkow.

Participants include: Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Congressperson Daniel Goldman, the HaZamir International Jewish Teen Choir, Joyce Rosenzweig, Steven Skybell, Stephanie Butnick, Holocaust Survivors Toby Levy, Ilana Yaari, and Jerry Lindenstraus, and many others.

Toby Levy (née Eisenstein) was born in 1933 in Chodorow, Poland, located outside of Lvov (now Lviv in modern-day Ukraine). She grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family with her father Moshe, her mother Cyla, and her older sister Betty. In spring 1941 the Germans invaded Soviet-occupied Poland and a few months later, the Jews of Chodorow were forced into ghettos. Toby’s family defied these orders and went into hiding in 1942. The family was taken in by a Polish woman who had been a customer in Moshe’s fabric store. For two years, Toby and eight of her family members remained hidden in a barn until June 1944, when they were liberated by the Soviet Army. After several years in a Displaced Persons (DP) Camp, the family came to the United States in 1949. Today, Toby is a Gallery Educator and Speakers Bureau member at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Toby has two children, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Gerald “Jerry” Lindenstraus was born in 1929 in Gumbinnen, East Prussia, Germany. As a young child, he witnessed Kristallnacht in Konigsberg, Germany. In response, Jerry fled for Shanghai with his father in July 1939 on the last German luxury ship. Approximately 18000 German and Austrian Jewish refugees fled to Shanghai, one of the few places that would accept refugees. While there, the then Japanese-occupied Shanghai forced Jerry and these refugees into a ghetto.

Jerry and his family lived in Shanghai until 1947, where he rejoined his mother in Bogota, Colombia. When he immigrated to the United States, he began his own business. Jerry recounts his journey to Shanghai in his book An Incredible Story.

Ilana Yaari was born in Warsaw, Poland as Halina Buchwald and spent three years in the Warsaw Ghetto as a child. Tragically, her mother and grandfather were deported to the Treblinka death camp. Her father worked outside the Ghetto to try to find connections to freedom and he would leave Ilana hiding in a coal box for safety. Through the efforts of a Jewish policeman, Ilana was spared deportation and was later smuggled out of the ghetto by her loving nanny. After the war, Ilana immigrated to Israel and served in the Israeli Army. She later moved to the United States and joined the staff of a technology company, where she still works. Ilana has two sons and five grandchildren.




At each Annual Gathering of Remembrance, we remember those survivors who we have lost over the year.