Beckley Community Remembers Millions of Holocaust Victims


A room full of people honored 6 million lives lost in all of time’s deadliest genocide on Sunday April 23, 2017 at Carter Hall on the West Virginia University Tech Beckley campus. 

Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day in Beckley is a special event for Simone Lotven Sofian, its guest speaker. Her mother and several other family members are Holocaust survivors. 

“As many survivors did, they hid it from their children until they were often adults, but my mother never did,” Lotven Sofian said. “I understand that it needs to be remembered.”

An emotional crowd held on to every word Lotven Sofian spoke. She told 59News the purpose of her travels from Dayton, Ohio to speak at these events is so that no one ever forgets the Holocaust. 

Her hope is to one day prevent future genocides like it from happening. 

“The hope is that by doing so, by keeping it and teaching it about it and keeping the memory alive, we will make the world a better place,” Lotven Sofian said. “And eventually there won’t be genocides like Rwanda and Bosnia and Syria.”

This event has been a tradition for more than 20 years. 

The man who started it all, local holocaust survivor Max Lewin, is no longer around to be there for it. But that doesn’t mean Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day in Beckley is ending any time soon.

“Max died a number of years ago,” Joseph Golden, Temple Beth El leader, said. “Even though he initiated we in honor of his family and himself and the deep importance we feel this has, continue the program every year.”

Follow @Joe_Putrelo on Twitter. 

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