Holocaust Remembrance Day event at Rockford University

Staff Report

The Jewish Federation of Greater Rockford is holding its annual observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 27, at Burpee Center on the campus of Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford.

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) and Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen (R) will both be present to read proclamations.

Student essay winners and teachers of the Holocaust will also be honored. A candle-lighting ceremony will also be featured, and a survivor, Barney Sidler, will speak. Refreshments will follow.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more details, call (815) 399-5497 or e-mail rockfordfederation@sbcglobal.net.

Barney Sidler

Sidler was born in March 1933 in Demblin, Poland. He was 6 years old when the Nazis occupied Poland and the war broke out.  In March 1940, an area of Demblin was converted into an open ghetto, where Sidler and his family lived in a three-room apartment with 10 other people.

In January 1941, the Nazis liquidated the ghetto, and Sidler was transferred to a forced labor camp on the outskirts of town. He remained in the camp until December 1944 (11 years old), and was then deported to Warta concentration camp, a sub camp of Czestochowa.

In January 1945, Sidler was deported to Buchenwald, and remained there until liberation in May 1945. He was one of the youngest children liberated from the camp, at 12 years of age. In October 1949, Sidler, through the help of HIAS, immigrated to the U.S.

From the April 23-29, 2014 issue

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