Days of Remembrance:
Holocaust and Genocide Awareness

Each year, The City of Edina and the Human Rights and Relations Commission (HRRC) hosts an annual “Days of Remembrance” event with the goal of remembering those who perished and honoring the survivors, rescuers and liberators of the Holocaust and other genocides around the world that continue to impact our residents today.

In 2012, the Edina City Council and Mayor Jim Hovland approved a proclamation indicating the City of Edina would recognize the National Days of Remembrance each April or May in memory of victims of the Holocaust and encourage the community to reflect on the need for respect for all people. April was also designated as Genocide Awareness and prevention month in Minnesota by Governor Dayton. This bill encourages organizations to sponsor events that educate the public and to remember those whose lives and cultures have been forever changed.  

The Edina Human Rights and Relations Commission recognizes Days of Remembrance and Genocide Awareness annually with an event at City Hall. Our community members have heard about the impact on denial of genocides on families and victims. We also heard about the courage, dreams and lessons learned from survivors.

Edina also presents holocaust and genocide videos on EDINA TV highlighting the stories of Minnesota residents who have survived the holocaust and the impact on their families and the local communities around them.

More information about past events can be found below:

2016: Women in the Holocaust and Genocide

Holocaust survivor Lucy Kreisler Smith, a St. Paul artist, spoke about hiding from the Nazis as a child with her mother. Living with fear every day, Smith and her mother often had to change locations, towns and even identities; with increasing danger of being exposed and sent to death at concentration camps. Smith talked about her experiences during the Holocaust, her life as a refuge and her involvement today in community outreach and education.

In addition, World Without Genocide Executive Director Dr. Ellen Kennedy spoke about Ravensbruck, a women’s concentration camp 50 miles outside of Berlin where the Nazis perpetrated horrific violence. Finally, World Without Genocide staff presented a short play, entitled “The Line,” about Sophie Scholl, a brave college student in Germany who stood up against the Nazis and was guillotined by the Gestapo.

Watch this program here:

2015: From Armenians to the Holocaust 

This year the City held a special event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the Holocaust. The program featured a presentation from World Without Genocide Executive Director Ellen J. Kennedy on Holocaust and genocide denial.

Holocaust survivor Dora Eiger Zaidenweber shared her personal story of her family’s incarceration in a Polish ghetto, imprisonment at Auschwitz, transfer to Bergen-Belsen and liberation.

A performance of the play “Upstanders: Saving Armenians and Jews” told the story of courageous Armenians who fled from Europe during the Armenian genocide and then paid it forward to save victims and survivors during the Holocaust.

Watch this program here:

2014: Edina Takes a Stand Against Genocide 

In 2014, Edina acknowledged the 20th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide as well as the crises in the Congo where six million people have perished since 1996. They held a three-part series. The first part of the series included an interactive play called Upstanders: Ten who Dared, examining the consequences of upstanders vs. bystanders.

The second part featured Dr. Ellen Kennedy, Executive Director of World Without Genocide, who discussed the Rwandan genocide on its 20th anniversary and spoke about the Congo.

The third part of the series honored the victims and survivors of the holocaust and genocide. This part of the series featured Fred Amram, a holocaust survivor and retired University of Minnesota professor.

Watch this program here: