Bluma Goldberg recalls being hurried from her home as a 13-year-old when Nazi invaders stormed the town of Pinczow, Poland, and began burning it down.
“My mother rushed my big sister Cela and me into the woods, and we never saw our precious family again,” she said.
More than 70 years later, the images are still painfully vivid in the mind of the 85-year-old Columbia resident, the area’s only known remaining Holocaust survivor. But despite the lingering hurt of those images, Goldberg said it’s a memory worth remembering.
“We must never forget and must continue to tell the story,” she said.
Similar stories of survival and other lessons about Jewish culture will be at the heart of Columbia’s first Week of Remembrance: A Celebration of Jewish Culture, which will run April 15-22 at various venues throughout the city. The event will feature seven days of educational and arts events including concerts, lectures, multimedia presentations and visual arts to honor the tens of thousands of lives lost at the Terezin concentration camp during the Holocaust of World War II.
Columbia officials and other area lawmakers on Friday joined representatives of the sponsoring Opera-tunity Foundation and the USC School of Music to officially announce the event as the Jewish community prepared to mark Passover, which begin that evening.
“It’s a chance for us to celebrate the deep and rich Jewish history here in Columbia,” Major Steve Benjamin told Friday morning’s gathering.
Music will be at the forefront of the celebrations as several USC musical ensembles will be joined by other groups across the state. The week will begin with a performance of “Defiant Requiem … Verdi at Terezin” at the Koger Center for the Arts by the USC Symphony, a 188-voice chorus and soloists. It is the same piece captors at the Terezin Concentration Camp performed 16 times.
Richland County lawmakers Democrat Sen. Joel Lourie and Republican Rep. Joan Brady have introduced a bill recognizing April 15-21 as a “Week of Remembrance.”
Goldberg believes the resolution is fitting.
“Maybe the people who didn’t believe it will think about it, especially the young people,” she said.