City of Pawtucket


Mayor Donald R. Grebien

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Today the City of Pawtucket honors Holocaust Remembrance Day with Lilliane Birch and the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center.

As the world marks Holocaust Remembrance Day, Pawtucket resident Lilliane Birch stands as a beacon of remembrance and resilience, dedicated to ensuring that the stories of her parents, Holocaust survivors, are not forgotten.

Through her work with the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, Lilliane passionately shares her family’s journey. Raised by Holocaust survivor parents, Lilliane recounts how she gradually learned of her family’s past, piecing together fragments of their experiences over time. It wasn’t until she was nine years old that her parents began to reveal the full extent of their experience, a process marked by a lack of emotional context.

“They never gave me the emotional context,” Lilliane reflects. “I only really understood on a visceral level after I read “Night” by Elie Wiesel”. This gradual revelation speaks to a generation of survivors who, like Lilliane’s parents, often grappled with the trauma of their past in silence, shielding their children from the full weight of their suffering.

However, as her parents approached the end of their lives, Lilliane witnessed a shift—a fervent need to bear witness and ensure that their stories would continue. Lilliane resolved to carry on her parents’ legacy, becoming a vocal advocate for Holocaust education and remembrance.

“I asked her what kept her going, when every day it is horrible, what makes you survive,” Lilliane recalls a conversation with her mother about her experience in a concentration camp. “She said the only people who did survive were the ones who had hope.” Lilliane puts her hope in education as the way to combat hatred and bigotry in today’s world, saying that Holocaust education is “vitally important, now more than ever.”

As Lilliane Birch continues to honor her parents’ memory and preserve their legacy, she stands as a testament to the enduring power of remembrance and the imperative of bearing witness to the darkest chapters of human history.

If you would like to have a Holocaust Survivor or Child of a Survivor come and speak at your school, community center, company, or house of worship, please contact The Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center.
[email protected]