By Dan Horowitz--With their youth stolen from them while hiding from the horrors of the Holocaust or by being imprisoned in a concentration camp, close to 300 Holocaust survivors finally had the chance to celebrate their prom, and reclaim a moment from their youth, albeit 66 years later.
Taking to the dance floor at Toronto’s Warehouse, the survivors were joined by over 100 high school students, all of whom had participated in UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s March of the Living where they learned, firsthand, the atrocities of what these men and women were forced to endure.
The emotional event, titled, “The Senior Prom – An intergenerational Celebration of Life,” was organized and hosted by UJA Federation and March of the Living, and gave the survivors a unique opportunity to foster and build meaningful relationships while dancing the night away.
“I think tonight is a wonderful illustration of Jewish love,” said survivor and prom guest George Scott. “That Jewish children and grandchildren offer the best they have to give. It’s such a wonderful evening and we can barely contain our joy and gratitude.
For George Scott, the evening was made even more special when he unexpectedly met someone he had not seen since the age 14, in a concentration camp.
“That was the best part of it,” said George, “Unexpectedly meeting some people. It’s what dreams are made of.”
“The young people who organized this are unbelievable,” said survivor Eddy Stark. “It shows that they are interested in the past and the future.”
For Carly Tal, 17, an MOL prom chair, the evening will last a lifetime.
“I loved seeing all the Holocaust survivors having such a great time,” she said. “To see the prom king and queen, and the survivors all dressed up on the dance floor, was something really special. It was great to be involved in this and it’s something that I’ll remember forever.”
“I could be part of bringing what survivors did not have, and give it to them, while experiencing it along with them. This was an amazing night,” said Arielle Stresser, also 17,
Entertainment for the event, which was an initiative of the March of the Living Post Programming Committee, included a special performance by composer Zane Zallis, music from Nova Sounds, and the Magen Boys.