Our very first ever live virtual Holocaust Memorial Ceremony took place on September 8th, in Bardejov’s Jewish Suburbia. The event was broadcast live via ‘Zoom’ and ‘Facebook Live’, while around 50 guests also attended in person.
Many Bardejovers and friends from around the world tuned in for the live event, which drew approximately 1,700 viewers. Our post-event participation has been exceptional as well, as the video has since been viewed over 5,000 times. Among the 50 guests who personally attended the event were Mr. Vladimír Savčinský – Vice-Mayor of Bardejov, Mr. Cyril Bogoľ – caretaker of Bikur Cholim Synagogue in Bardejov, and his wife, representatives of the City of Bardejov, and the principal of Leonard Stockel High School accompanied by numerous students.
The event was narrated live from the Old Synagogue in both Slovak and English, while our guests and other event participants gathered at the Holocaust Memorial. The ceremony began with our customary lighting of the candles by Leonard Stockel high-school students, which took place in front of the name tablets inside the Memorial.
Live performances via ‘Zoom’ and pre-recorded videos followed, beginning with the Kaddish prayer recited by Daniel Yehuda. After the Kaddish prayer, Robert Mogyoros, son-in-law of Mr. Emil A. Fish, sung the Jewish remembrance prayer “El Maleh Rachamim” (“God full of Compassion”), followed by one minute of silence.
The event continued with our introductory video about Bardejov Jewish Preservation Committee, which included an overview of all the projects we have worked on and completed since the establishment of BJPC in 2006. After the video, viewers watched a speech recorded by Mr. Emil A. Fish. His speech was particularly impressive and touching as Mr. Fish reminded us all of the important lessons learned from the Holocaust.
Mr. Daniel Yehuda, a descendant of the Grussgott family of Bardejov, put together a wonderful slideshow in honor of his relatives, with the song Shuvi Nafsi playing in the background.
This year’s speakers included H.E. Brigitte A. Brink – US Ambassador in Slovakia, Ms. Naomi Eldar – DCM and Consul of Israel in Slovakia, and Dr. Boris Hanuščák – Mayor of Bardejov, who all had very inspiring and positive words to share.
Beautiful musical performances by Leonard Stockel high-school students were played in between speeches. They included a performance of the song “Mi Bon Siach” by student Júlia Pillarová, the composition ‘Israeli Concertino Nocturne’ by George Perlman played on the piano by student Miroslava Gavalová, and a Slovak song by Martin Harich sung by Hana and Katarina Molčanová, which concluded the event.
We are beyond grateful for all the assistance and support we had in organizing the event. Fruitful cooperation with the City of Bardejov and the Vita in Suburbium organization allowed us to prepare a successful event which presented us with an interesting challenge, we hope that it was an enjoyable experience for all. Despite the current global situation, we were still able to continue our annual tradition of honoring and remembering the Jewish families of Bardejov while respecting all the recommendations and regulations concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, and this means a lot to us.