Holocaust survivor uses Greensburg service to honor nun who saved her
Among those who rose to light candles on Sunday in Greensburg's Congregation Emanu-El Israel during an interfaith memorial service of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, was Shulamit Bastacky.
The only Holocaust survivor in attendance, Bastacky, 71, of Squirrel Hill said she was thinking of family members who perished, and of a Roman Catholic nun.
“I am a hidden child survivor, standing before you here today because of one individual who saved my life,” she said.
Born in 1941 in Nazi-occupied Vilna, Lithuania, the Jewish infant was sheltered by the nun in a basement for several years.
She does not recall the nun but knows from her family that the woman fed and cared for her and kept her safe.
Bastacky regularly speaks to schoolchildren, college students and adults, sharing her story and that of the atrocities of the Holocaust.
She speaks in memory of those loved ones who perished, she said, and in honor of those for whom there is no one to speak.
“I promote tolerance and respect of others' cultures, religions and traditions,” Bastacky said.
Irene Rothschild, whose family survived the Holocaust and who serves as president of Congregation Emanu-El Israel, welcomed about 100 people to the program.
“Unfortunately, prejudice and bigotry still are practiced by some. ... Thank you for being here today and recognizing the importance of remembering those who did not survive the Holocaust,” Rothschild said.
As six candles were lit in remembrance of the 6 million Jews killed by Nazis, those attending rose and read the names, ages and places of death of children, parents, teachers, rabbis and martyrs.
A seventh candle was lit in memory of the non-Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis and gave their lives in fighting that oppression.
“We shall not forget,” those attending murmured after each candle was lit.
Sunday's program marked the 25th year that Westmoreland County held the communitywide memorial service.
The film “Ahead of Time” was scheduled to be shown after the memorial service.
The documentary tells the story of Ruth Gruber, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1911, who became the youngest Ph.D. in the world at 20.
By 24, she was a foreign correspondent and photojournalist whose career included escorting a group of 1,000 Jewish refugees from Italy to America in 1944 and covering the Nuremberg trials in 1946.
The Yom HaShoah observance is jointly sponsored by the Westmoreland Jewish Community Council of the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Greensburg Ministerium, the Greater Latrobe Ministerial Association, the National Catholic Center of Holocaust Education of Seton Hill University, the Greensburg-Jeannette NAACP, Congregation Emanu-El Israel and Beth Israel Synagogue in Latrobe.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police on hunt for suspects in unrelated Penn Township, Manor cases
- Families welcome new members on Adoption Day in Westmoreland County
- Food drive volunteer in Westmoreland County has purse stolen
- Ex-youth group volunteer from Monroeville indicted on child pornography charges
- No hike in tentative Scottdale budget
- West Newton will consider temporary road after train accident cut off neighborhood