Holocaust Monument in Santa Clara
By: Lourdes Albo

I believe the Dedication and the Memorial Ceremony made a singular contribution not only for the Cuban Jewish Community, but for other Jewish communities. It was very meaningful to share this unforgettable moment with people from Greensboro, South Caroline who were visiting us, representatives from all the Cuban Jewish community nationwide, ecumenical representatives, and the most important the presence of young adults and children. Near the Monument, the latter laid down small stones sent by children from Greensboro. The unveiled of the monument done by Rosa Behar and Isacc Rousso was touching.

In fact, the Memorial design, and the light of each candle lit in memory of each of the 6 millions people massacred are both a link with the past. It is also an inspiration for generations to come who we will pass the torch to keep Judaism alive.

Words can not express what I felt when David Tacher showed four small containers one with some soil brought from the land of Israel and three of them with water from the Dead Sea, the Galilee Sea and the Jordan River to watered the pine-tree. In complete silence, the people started watering the tree while the Atitkva hymn was played by Silverstein's son. The pine tree planted next to the Monument means , quoting Tacher's words, ' a symbol , because it has the soil from Israel and Cuba' , ' life' and 'desire to live in peace' , in other words, hope for the future.

The following are the impressions of some people I interviewed. I wish I could have more time to interview more people .

Isacc Rousso. President of B'naith B'rith Maimonides Lodge.

"This dedication is a stepping-stone for the Cuban Jewish community and a big achievement of David Tacher, president of The Santa-Clara Jewish community and all its members as well… As a Jew, I consider we are paying a tribute to those people who perished in the Holocaust. This monument is a symbol of all these people who suffered the horror of Nazism against the Jewish people".

Maria Luisa Zayon. President of the Macabi- Youngster-Jewish Group.

"I think we should feel proud that today this Dedication takes place to remember the six-million Jews murdered in the Shea. Nowadays, I think one of the most important tasks for Jewish Cuban young adults is to learn more about the Jewish History. This is a commitment to be followed to keep alive the Cuban Jewish community.

I believe we, young people should not forget what the Shoa means, and why the Shoa and the Holocaust happened. We can play an important role for letting the non-Jewish young people know about the horror and the suffering of Jews. Perhaps, this could contribute to avoid the emerging of new antisemitic feelings that have been latent since old times…. Being here means a lot to me, it is a way to feel closer to those who perished and those who survived and remember all their sufferings."

Julia Rodriguez. Member of the Jewish Community, Caibarien.

"I remember coming with my grandpa to this cemetery when I was a little boy. I got some pictures of this cemetery and my grandpa's tomb was one of those that remained in good shape.

The renewal of the cemetery and the Monument is like a dream come true. David Tacher always thought about paying a tribute to these people who perished in the Holocaust. We should recognize all his personal efforts and the Santa Clara Jewish community to accomplish it."

Alberto Silverstain. President of Adath Israel synagogue.

"I am glad that the small-Santa Clara Jewish Community has been able to renew their cemetery. They have accomplished a lot. They are a good example for the Cuban Jewish community and for other communities all over the world.

I think that the Memorial is one of the most important events over the last few years. It is true that we have had others, like the renew and rededication of other synagogues, however this dedication is so important due to the difficult times the people of Israel is facing and the rebirths of antisemitism in some regions as well. This monument represents the strengths of the Jewish Community of Santa Clara in particular, and the strengthen of the Cuban Jewish Community in general

Jacobo Barlia. Vice President of the Sephardic Center in Havana and Vice -president of the B'naith Brith Maimonides Lodge.

"During the last few days due to the invitation to attend this Dedication to the Holocaust Monument in Santa Clara, I have been thinking about all the Holocaust process and its development. I have remembered many things… that even my own family lived at that time. This is a good example of why the Jewish people will be kept alive forever…"

Rosa Behar. Leader of the Women's Association and Hadassah-Cuba Chapter.

"This is an honor for the Jewish community mainly for the Jews from Santa Clara. But, it is an honor for any Cuban Jew to see this monument to honor these people who perished to keep Judaism alive all over the world. Some of my mother's relatives perished during the Second World War, and it is an honor to have this monument in my homeland devoted to those who died at that time."

David Tacher. President of the Santa Clara Jewish Community.

"This is a very meaningful day for all of us; we have just made one of our greatest dreams come true, that are to pay a tribute to the people who perished in the Shoa. We have been working for a long time in this project. We think that for all the individuals who will visit our community this monument could pave the way to sensitize them about the Shoa, to have a better understanding of what happened, and the strengthen and unity of the Jewish people. I think this is a monument to be visited everyday, not only in the Holocaust Memorial Day.

We also want to share with non-Jews the History of the Shoa ….to keep it alive, to be remembered, because as time goes by the people may forget or others may deny this process… we do not want to leave a gap in which the Jewish people will not be allowed to defend their history, identity and …the tragedy they had to live with. We do not want the people forget it; at least we want them to learn what happened. All the Jewish community from Santa Clara is very proud of having this Monument…"

   
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