When returning to the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex last January to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp in southern Poland, more than 100 Jewish former prisoners called on the world – yet once again — to never forget.

Remembrance of the horrors of the Holocaust continues even during the coronavirus pandemic, as evidenced by a pair of virtual gatherings to commemorate Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will officially be observed Apr. 20-21.

At noon on Sunday, Apr. 19, the Baltimore Jewish Council, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, will hold its annual community-wide Yom HaShoah commemoration. The video “Remembering Liberation: The 75th Anniversary” will be presented on the BJC’s website (https://www.baltjc.org/).

The video, assembled by videographer Adam Oberfeld, includes excerpts of Holocaust survivors’ oral histories about their experiences at the time of liberation. The testimonies were recorded between 2003 and 2013 by Goucher College students as part of the course, “Oral Histories of Holocaust Survivors.” The course was taught by Goucher faculty member Dr. Uta Larkey; Dr. Steve Salzberg, a local psychiatrist and child of a Holocaust survivor; and storyteller Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff.

The late Sol Goldstein

In addition, the program will feature a 15-minute “Echoes and Reflections” video with interviews with concentration camp liberators and survivors, as well as a tribute to the late Sol Goldstein.

A Pikesville resident and former BJC president, Goldstein, who died in 2017, was a liberator of the Buchenwald death camp while assigned to the Big Red One, 1st Infantry Division. After World War II, he spent the rest of his life trying to educate people about the ramifications of hatred, bigotry and genocide.

Goldstein was a longtime participant of the BJC’s Holocaust Remembrance Speakers Bureau. He was also a former president of the Baltimore office of the American Jewish Congress and a co-founder of the Black Jewish Forum of Baltimore, also known as the BLEWScommun

On Monday night, Apr. 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., the Jewish Federation of Howard County, the Howard County Board of Rabbis and Howard County’s Yom HaShoah committee will host their annual Yom HaShoah event, this year titled “75 Years Later: Our Stories of Survival, Loss and Liberation.”

The virtual commemoration will offer regular components of the county’s annual Yom HaShoah observance, including liturgical elements; prerecorded greetings from such communal leaders as Howard County Executive Calvin Ball; testimony from Holocaust survivors; and a digital version of the federation’s Holocaust artifacts and “Scroll of Remembrance.”

There will also be a Zoom event at 7 featuring a live keynote address by Don Goldstein, the son of Sol Goldstein, on his father’s life and wartime experiences.

“It has been a real challenge, but a sacred duty, to keep our Yom HaShoah commemoration as something that brings the community together year after year, in this very particular year,” said Rabbi Craig H. Axler, spiritual leader of Temple Isaiah in Fulton, who served as committee chair of this year’s Yom HaShoah program in Howard County.

For information, visit http://jewishhowardcounty.org/yomhashoahg/.