On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Survivor Reflects Amid Pandemic

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The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Miami Beach is closed to the public on Yom HaShoah because of the novel coronavirus, but 85-year-old survivor Allan Hall has his own life experience to think about on this Holocaust Remembrance Day and every day.

“I wanted to live and so if it meant being quiet all day, I was quiet all day. Two years time we were never discovered,” said the survivor, who knows the concept of staying indoors all too well.

For two years, he and his mother lived in a closet of a 13th floor building in Warsaw, Poland. At the age of 8, he was forced to eat scraps of food and had to stay very quiet to stay alive. On this Holocaust Remembrance Day he lives with the haunting memories.

“I lived through this latent time with the Holocaust every day so today is no different than any other day. I’m surrounded by memories of my family and of the 6 million that were murdered,” said Hall.

This year will be slightly different for Hall. The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Miami Beach is closed because of the pandemic, a place he would normally visit. Instead, the museum is going virtual, streaming American and International films as a way to preserve the lessons of the Holocaust and honor survivors. 

For a limited time, various films are available on thanks to a partnership with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, along with the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education and the Miami Jewish Film Festival.

Hall has also made himself available virtually this year, doing various Zoom meetings to speak to people of all ages about his survivor experience. He says the pandemic is not a time to despair, but a time to appreciate what we have. 

“I think we have lost a little bit of our humanity and hopefully this experience will remind us of what we have forgotten,” Hall said. 

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