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Wilmington synagogue honors Holocaust survivors

WILMINGTON -- It's been more than half a century since millions of Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Sunday a Wilmington synagogue honored two survivors who live in our area. It was the first of several community events leading up to Holocaust Remembrance Day May 1. Alfred Schnog was seven years old when Nazis took control of his hometown of Cologne, Germany in 1938. Now at the age of 77 Schnog can still recall stories of the trip he and his family made to flee the uncertain future in Germany. Schnog said, "We went by train and got to the border and the train was boarded by Nazi police. They asked everyone to get out of the train they separated the Jews and we were Marched into a jail cell." His father's job as an international trader allowed his family to be released from jail and they eventually crossed the border into Holland. Even though his family was able to narrowly escape the persecution of many Jews and minorities in the genocide known as the Holocaust he still feels tied to the life he left behind. "I never suffered physically in the Holocaust from all the terrible stories you hear of concentration camps, etcetera, but I feel as though I've sort of lived on the edge of history," Schnog said. He was never sent to a concentration camp, but his grandparents perished in one. It's been almost 60 years since the Holocaust, but to survivors like Schnog it's a memory that will never be forgotten. "I want people to know and remember," he said. "And it's so important, if it can happen in a country like Germany at that time, it can happen else where." His family eventually crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship to the United States in 1940. He says then he truly felt freedom. Throughout the month of April and May UNCW and the Cameron Art Museum will also host services to honor those who died during the Holocaust.

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