Holocaust Survivor and Neighbor to Anne Frank Speaks in Bentonville

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BENTONVILLE, Ark.(KFTA) — It’s been just over two weeks since the mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people, and a new FBI report shows the number of hate crimes increased by 17% from 2016 to 2017.

Local religious leaders in Northwest Arkansas say the Jewish community is still coming together in the wake of the tragedy.

One man came to our region in hopes of keeping the memory of the holocaust alive.

Cantor Sam Radwine says our region is blessed with a tight interfaith community.

“I think we understand that hate has not gone away. We found that out in recent weeks and it’s still there,” Radwine said.

And right now it’s more important than ever to remember an important piece of history that shaped people who live among us.

“We’re at a point where eyewitnesses of the holocaust are becoming fewer and farther between,” Radwine said.

Grace Donoho is the founder of the Arkansas Holocaust Education Committee. 

Every year she puts on a conference to promote Holocaust education in Northwest Arkansas.

“It doesn’t fade away with history, its not covered extensively in textbooks,” Donoho said.

The speaker tonight is holocaust survivor Pieter Kohnstam.

His parents were forced to flee Germany during the early days of the Nazi regime to an apartment downstairs from the family of Anne Frank.

“We feel its a sacred duty as a community  to witness and to hear the stories of the witnesses of what happened in Europe,” Radwine said.

And for Radwine, it’s more than just preserving history.

“People still need to be reminded what happens when hate is allowed to rule the world,” Radwine said.

“It’s our youth that need to know about the holocaust and apply lessons that can be learned from the holocaust to their living today,” Donoho said.

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