Commemorative Service

Sunday April 23, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Congregation Shaarie Torah
920 NW 25th Avenue Portland, OR 97210 | Special Event

Candle lighting ceremony included.
Please bring a yellow flower to symbolize life.

Presented in partnership with Congregation Shaarie Torah, Oregon Board of Rabbis and Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.


Eva Aigner

Eva Aigner was born in 1937 in Kosice, Czechoslovakia and moved to Budapest, Hungary, shortly after the start of the Second World War. She is a survivor of the Budapest Ghetto and narrowly missed being shot by Nazi soldiers at the Danube waterfront. Her extended family did not survive the Holocaust.

Evelyn Banko

Evelyn Banko was born in Vienna, Austria in 1936, and in 1938 she and her family were forced to flee their home after the Nazi annexation of Austria. The family traveled through Latvia, China, and Japan before boarding a ship to the United States, where they were able to escape, while many members of their extended perished in Europe.

Anneke Bloomfield

Anneke Bloomfield was born in 1935 in The Hague, The Netherlands. Between the ages of five and ten years old, Anneke spent the war in hiding, sometimes returning home only to have to leave again. Through all of her stays in different places, she was never told what was happening. Telling children the truth was too risky, in case they were captured and gave away information. After the war, Anneke moved first to Canada and then to the United States.

Yelena ( Lisa) Elkina

Lisa Elkina was born in 1938 in small town, Tulchin, Ukraine, the former Soviet Union. She was only three when the German army started the war with the Soviet Union and rapidly advanced into Ukraine in June of 1941. Many local Jews had fled the Nazis before the town was occupied on July 23, 1941, but Lisa’s family couldn’t escape. Her mother with her sick baby brother and her father after the surgery were still in the hospital while little Lisa stayed home with both grandmothers.

In December of 1941, the Germans demanded that all town Jews walk about 40 km to the newly established concentration camp, Pechora or “Dead Loop,” as it was called by locals. Lisa’s family, including her father, mother, baby brother, both grandmothers, and a large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins were among 35,000 Jews deported to the camp. Germans converted a few unfinished hospital buildings without windows, water and power to the camp and forced Jewish children, women, and elderly to move there. Tiny hospital rooms were packed with people, and several hundred people were dying daily from hunger, cold, and typhus. Others were forced to work long hours under rain or snow. A tall brick fence enclosed the camp from one side; its backside bordered the South Bug River. When a few brave inmates escaped by jumping to the river or climbing over the fence, they were shot by the Germans. One day, a unit of Ukrainian collaborators forced remaining Jews, including Lisa, into trucks and brought them for execution to the ditches dug days before. Suddenly, Romanian commandant came and stopped the action because it was no direct order from the Germans, and he believed poor people would die soon anyway. 24 of Lisa’s relatives had died in the camp. One of her grandmothers died on the march to the camp when local Jews were moved there; other went to look for food and froze on the way; one aunt tried to escape and was shot by police and her children died later from hunger; the other aunt was thrown to The Bug River by a Ukrainian policeman; her little brother died from starvation in the cold and hungry winter of 1942; all other relatives didn’t survive hunger and diseases. Only three people came alive from a large Jewish family, her mother, father and she, because of help of their Ukrainian neighbors who were not afraid to give them little food they could spare.

In March of 1944, Camp Pechora was liberated by the Soviet Army, and poor, ill, hungry survivors came back to their towns. Later, Lisa got married, had two daughters and immigrated with her family to the USA in 1994. Even though Lisa was only 6 years old when she was liberated from the camp, she still vividly remembers the horrors of her early childhood and her little brother who didn’t survive.

Miriam Greenstein

Miriam Greenstein was nine years old when Germany occupied her home country of Poland, and through the ensuing years every member of her immediate family was murdered. Miriam survived the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz, and Bergen Belsen, and after liberation at age 16, she came to Portland to live with her aunt and uncle who gave her a home and an American education. She later married Tole Greenstein and had four daughters, six grandchildren and three great grand children. Miriam is an artist, the author of her autobiography, In the Shadow of Death, and was a founding for the building of the Oregon Holocaust Memorial.