Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day program returns to Jewish Federation of Greater Naples 

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Sunday was a day to remember the six million men, women and children lost in the Holocaust

The Jewish Federation of Greater Naples held an annual event for Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

The message this year is “Never Again” to all forms of genocide while standing in solidarity with Israel after the Oct. 7 terror attacks by Hamas.

The President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples, Jeffery Feld, said it is vital more than ever to recognize what is happening in Israel. While also never forgetting the horrors of the past in what is considered the world’s deadliest genocides. 

“It’s remembering those that helped,” said Feld. “It’s remembering those that perish, and it’s making sure we do everything in our power that things like this don’t happen again.”

Holocaust Remembrance Day Naples flag. CREDIT: WINK News
Holocaust Remembrance Day Naples flag. CREDIT: WINK News

In song, unity and speech, nearly a hundred people were brought together for the annual Holocaust Remberacne Day at the Jewish Cultural Center in Naples.

The keynote speech was delivered by Naples resident Abe Asli, who has worked both locally and globally to honor Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat credited with saving thousands of Jews during the war before being imprisoned and then dying in the former Soviet Union.

The event also featured several Holocaust survivors, or descendants of them, who paid respects during a candlelight ceremony. 

Among the group of Holocaust survivors was 94-year-old Heinz Wartski. He was born in Danzig Germany in 1929. 

During the 1930s, the Nazis took control of the Danzig government and began to systematically target Jewish people. 

In 1939, Heinz’s father was arrested for conducting business with Aryans and was sentenced to six months of hard labor at the Stutthof concentration camp, according to the Holocaust Museum and Cohen Education Center.

Holocaust Remembrance Day Naples program. CREDIT: WINK News
Holocaust Remembrance Day Naples program. CREDIT: WINK News

Wartski remembers vividly the horror and terror he encountered at the hands of Nazi soldiers. 

“We knew we were in great danger because they were singing songs about how they were going to kill Jews,” said Wartski. “We knew we had to go to get away.”

In 1939, Heinz and his family fled to Italy and later joined the partisan resistance in the Appenine Mountains.

“We ended up with them, and they accepted us, and we were able to survive by joining the Italian undergrounds,” said Wartski. 

Wartski and his family stayed there until the liberation of 1945 and later immigrated to the United States in 1949. 

Wartski currently lives in Naples and volunteers with the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida to share his story. 

Wartski’s story, along with many other Holocaust survivors’ stories, are stored and shared every year on days like Holocaust Remembrance Day, so their stories of strength, resilience and survival are never forgotten. 

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