International Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 11-12, 2018, honored the memories of the millions who perished during the Holocaust (Shoah) in World War II, including 6 million Jews who died in the concentration camps.
Victims of Nazi atrocities included 5 millions Poles, Slavic peoples, mentally and physically disabled, clergy, and others who were persecuted for their religious beliefs or political opposition activities.
There are about 250 Holocaust survivors in the Columbus area, mostly from Russia and Eastern Europe, who later settled in the United States in search of a new home.
The late Bexley sculptor, Alfred Tibor (1920-2017), kept the personal Holocaust tragedies alive through more than 500 sculptures and pieces of artwork in the Columbus area, which are described in his book entitled “Celebration of Life.”
Rabbi Debbie Lefton, at Wexner Heritage Village, noted, “Many of our survivors are in their 90s, and they’re the ones who bear witness.”
“Our Jewish Historical Society has taken on a huge endeavor to record the stories of our surviving community,” Lefton said.
Tibor’s widow, Susan, 90 years old, is a resident at Wexner Heritage Village. She cherishes his memory and chooses to preserve his legacy to educate young people about the horrors of the Holocaust, and the hope carried on by survivors who forged a family life in the United States and other welcoming counties.
Susan Tibor faced harrowing challenges in the ghetto of Budapest, Hungary, before meeting Alfred, a former gymnast who was not allowed to participate in the 1936 Berlin Olympics because he was Jewish.
His native Hungary was allied with Nazi Germany, and Alfred Tibor spent three years in forced labor on the Eastern Front, before being taken prisoner by Soviet troops. He changed his name from Goldstein to Tibor in honor of his brother, who died in a concentration camp.
Tibor moved from Miami to Columbus in the 1970s, and returned to sculpting, an endeavor he had begun years earlier. Through his artwork, Tibor preserves the memories of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.