Holocaust Remembered in Service

There are Holocaust survivors among us. Even now, more than a half century later, they live with the nightmares of what happened. We spoke with two of those survivors who told us it never gets any easier talking about their experiences. One of them even told us that it wasn't until recently that he was finally able to talk about what happened to him.

Six million were murdered simply because they were deemed unfit.

"My parents and 6 million other people were taken from their home, trucked, put on a train, sent to the camps, stripped, gassed, burned in the ovens, reduced to ashes and sent to Germany for fertilizer," said survivor Leon Malmed. "When you think about it, it's the most horrible thing that could ever happen."

That was 60 years ago, but for Chaim Melamed and Leon Malmed, the horror of what happened to them is still very vivid.

"I was seeing dead people all around me," Chaim told us. "At one particular time I was digging graves for those people."

Chaim was14 when he was taken to Nazi concentration camps. It was where he watched his parents die and he is the only one of their eight children who survived. From a town the Jewish population of which was 1,025, he was one out of 89 left.

"Some of us committed suicide, some of us just went to the wires, they got enough and were shot," he said.

Leon and his sister are the only survivors from their hometown of 1,000. He was four when his parents were sent away. Still thinking his parents would one day return, he and his sister would spend the next several years hiding among a Christian family who was well aware of the penalty for harboring Jews.

"Since I was four I called them Pappa and Mamma like they were my own parents and I always felt that way," he said. "Although I never lost sight to this day, I am still waiting for my parents to come back."

Both of these men as well as others will be sharing their stories of survival for Yom HaShoa. It's a Holocaust remembrance service being held at the JEA tonight at 7pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com