Berkeley Commemorates Holocaust 60th Anniversary By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday May 03, 2005

Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany death camps, Berkeley will hold its third annual ceremony Friday to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

This year’s featured speaker is Dora Sorrell, an Auschwitz survivor and Berkeley resident. Sorrel was born in Sighet, a village in Northern Romania. In 1944 the occupying Hungarian Fascist regime deported the entire Jewish population of the town to Auschwitz, where most of her family were murdered immediately.  

Sorrell and other inmates at Auschwitz were liberated on May 6, 1945, exactly 60 years before Friday’s commemoration. 

Recalling the day the Red Army entered Auschwitz, Sorrell has written, “It was a day of intense relief and strong emotions after all that hell…I wrote of my joy and happiness at living to see freedom and I cried out as I remembered what happened a year earlier and wondered who would be home waiting for me.” 

Shortly after her liberation, Sorrell returned to Romania. Later, she graduated from medical school, and ultimately immigrated to New York. Upon retirement, She wrote Tell the Children: Letters to Miriam, a book in the form of letters to her first granddaughter about her family, her experiences during the war and her losses from the Holocaust. 

Sorrell received national attention last year when she donated the $3,043 reparation check she received from the German government to aid refugees from the Darfur region of western Sudan. 

Also speaking Friday will be Liz Rosner, a Berkeley resident and the author of Speed of Light, a novel that addresses the effects of the Holocaust on the descendants of survivors. 

Patricia Whaley, a holocaust survivor and the principal viola for Symphony Silicon Valley, will provide music. 

Mayor Tom Bates will give the opening remarks, and Councilmember Kriss Worthington, who helped organize the event, will be in attendance. 

The commemoration will be held at noon in the City Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.