Kristina Hernandez, Staff Writer
04/22/2012 06:47:52 PM PDT
REDLANDS - After returning home from the horrific conditions she - and millions of others - endured during the Holocaust, Clara Knopfler found solace in the comfort and stories of her mother, Pepi Deutsch.
The mother-daughter duo were the only surviving members of their large family, she said.
Thirty-nine others, including both of Clara's grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings, died during the Holocaust.
Clara told her story to about 100 people who marched in honor of Holocaust victims in what she described Sunday at the Redlands Bowl as the largest genocide to happen to humanity.
With signs showing support, the march took participants around the city starting at the Bowl.
The event was the first
March of Remembrance to take place at the Bowl. It was hosted by the Shiloh Messianic Congregation of Crestline and Redlands.
Thousands went online before the event to register for the march, said organizers, but never showed up.
However, Pastor Bruce Dowell of Shiloh Messianic said he was pleased with the turnout and is already looking forward to planning next year's event.
"Today was our first time doing this, so we didn't know what to expect," he said. "But I am pretty happy with today's turnout. It's a new beginning."
In addition to the march, the six hour event - which began at 10 a.m. - included songs of worship with Lev Shelo, with Cory Bell, a lighting of candles to remember the millions lost in the Holocaust, speeches by state Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, and Julie Caron, the widow of Holocaust survivor Bernard "Bernie" Caron, who died in march.
Books by Bernie and Clara were available for purchase. Each person in attendance had the opportunity to take home a rock that read: "March of Remembrance 2012. Never forget."
Clara, now 82, said it was important for her to speak at events like Sunday's to educate people about the events that transpired under Nazi rule and how she coped with the aftermath, moving from her home in Romania with her mother to the United States.
"I go anywhere where I can tell this story for my purpose to never forget and never let it happen again - the worst genocide of mankind," she said. "I go to universities, churches, temples, schools - high schools especially - whenever they ask me.
"I tell my story because there are some people who believe that the Holocaust is a myth, never happened. (But) we are still here.
"I thought when I survived Auschwitz that I was immortal. Since then, my mom died. My husband died. So probably I am mortal."