NEVER FORGET: Holocaust survivors of Houston remember the atrocities

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Holocaust Museum Houston documents atrocities of Auschwitz
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The Holocaust Museum is trying to record as many eyewitness testimonies as possible so that the atrocities of the Holocaust won't be forgotten.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- At one time there were nearly 1,000 Holocaust survivors living the Houston area, according to the Holocaust Museum of Houston. Today that number has dwindled to 250.

On the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, they take a special moment to remember.

"What it means to me - is never forget," said Holocaust survivor Bill Orlin. As a seven-year-old boy, Orlin watched Germans burn his home in a tiny village in Poland. He watched and wondered. He remembers thinking, "Why? Why is this happening? What have I done to deserve this?"

Orlin volunteers now at the Holocaust Museum of Houston are sharing vivid details of his personal history: How his family avoided concentration camps. One time, he says, the SS caught up with them, lined them up facing away from the soldiers. He thought they'd be shot.

"That was the scariest moment of my life," he said.

The museum some years ago began collecting videotaped interviews of survivors. Morris Penn described in detail a day at a displaced persons camp. He watched as man after man was executed. Nearby he then found his father's coat in a pile of clothing nearby belonging to the dead.

"I found a little picture and this is the only thing that I have left from my family," said Penn.

Six million Jews and thousands of others were murdered. Anna Steinberger's extended family was among those executed. She's like many watching the world events of today wondering still how genocide and tyranny are allowed to exist. She wondering if lessons were truly learned by all those lives lost.

"We promised never again. Why aren't we keeping that promise," said Steinberger.

The Holocaust Museum of Houston has a chilling new exhibit coming. It is called "The Butterfly Project." Since 1995, children from every continent except Antarctica have brought or sent handmade butterflies to the museum. They've collected 1.5 million of them, representing the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust. Starting February 12, they will be on display at the Holocaust Museum of Houston and at other locations around the city. For more information about the Butterfly Project you can visit

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