PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – A Holocaust survivor and Westchester resident will speak Sunday at an interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Day service hosted by the Peekskill Area Pastors Association.
Betty Knoop was arrested as a young girl with her entire family when the Nazis invaded Amsterdam. Her family was sent to the concentration camp in Westerbork and later to Bergen Belsen. A question-and-answer period will be held after her talk.
Knoop, 82, lives in Armonk where she spends time with her children and grandchildren. But she said she lost 19 of her relatives to the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. The persecution of Holland’s Jews started gradually after the German occupation of Holland began, she recalled.
“After six weeks the Germans started to take away certain rights from the Jewish people: We were banned from civil service, then we could only be out until 8 o’clock at night, we could only shop in the markets but only between 3 and 5, then we couldn’t stay in our schools anymore. We had to go to a special Jewish school and the classes kept getting smaller because kids were getting pulled out of them or they were going into hiding.”
Knoop has spoken in front of many groups, including many schools and college crowds. The stories of families like hers need to be remembered, she said.
“I feel like I owe it to everyone whose ashes have been scattered around the globe and nobody knows that these people were alive,” Knoop said. “I don’t want to forget them.”
Sunday’s service will take place at 5 p.m. at the First Hebrew Congregation of Peekskill, located at 1821 E. Main St. For more information, contact Rabbi Lee Paskind at 914-739-0500 or 732-688-1982.
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