BECKLEY, W.Va. — A yearly ceremony will honor victims of the Holocaust on Sunday.
Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom HaShoah, is meant to recognize the 6 million Jews who were killed during the multi-year genocide. This year, the day was officially recognized on Friday.
The City of Beckley has only had one known Holocaust survivor to call the area home.
Max Lewin moved to Beckley in 1946 to live with his brother Harry. Max was a local businessman and ran Home Modernization, Inc. and Harry’s Men’s Shop. He passed away on August 24, 2002.
According to WV Remembers, dedicated to honoring stories from the holocaust, Beckley residents were not aware of his Holocaust experience until he revealed it to Temple Beth El members in 1990. This led to the first Beckley Holocaust Remembrance Day service in 1991.
Max Lewin recorded a television interview in 1996 for Mountain State University. He requested that the video never be shown as long as he was alive.
“In the interview, you can see Max’s voice get broken at times; he gets more emotional,” said Temple Beth El of Beckley secretary Dr. Joe Golden. “You need to empathize with that because he’s remembering the horrors that he and his family experienced and what he saw around him.”
2018 marks the 27th annual celebration to be held at WVU Tech. This is where the Lewin Family Bell Tower, dedicated in 1996, now sits.
“The WVU Tech community is honored and humbled to be a part of this longstanding tradition,” said WVU Tech President Carolyn Long. “Our city, and indeed our campus, is part of a tapestry of lives from all parts of the world, from many cultures and from many faiths. This event is so important because it reminds us that our communities cannot flourish when that light goes out.”
In addition to showing the interview Lewin did in 1996, a candle lighting ceremony will take place. There will also be readings of the Lewin family’s names, Max Lewin’s story and prayers.
It will be held at Carter Hall on the campus of WVU Tech in Beckley at 1 Sunday afternoon and is open to the public.