At the front of the Abramson Center for Jewish Life synagogue on Monday, 8-year-old Isabella Chelder learned that Ester Auerbach lost everything when she was about Isabella's age.

The Nazis turned Auerbach's community into a ghetto. They took her from her parents, and she never saw them again.

About 100 people gathered at the center in North Wales for a ceremony to remember the millions of Jews who were imprisoned or murdered during the Holocaust.

"We are all survivors today," Rabbi Josh Zlochower said. "This is a story that will go on as long as we go on."

Six Holocaust survivors live at the center, including Auerbach, and the genocide is a shared memory for the other people there and for those who attended Monday's service.

"You feel a little bit of protectiveness and guilt that they had to go through this," said Vivian Loewenstern, daughter of Leah Starkman, another Holocaust survivor who lives at the center.

The ceremony was hard for Loewenstern and her mother. But, while the torment evoked tears from those in attendance, Loewenstern said that she also had pride that her mother and late father, who was also a Holocaust survivor, were able to move to the United States and live on.

During the service, Isabella displayed a copy of the Torah that had survived World War II, stacked with others in a dark room to be forgotten. When the Torahs were found, there were notes tucked inside, desperate pleas for rescue.

The Torahs "symbolize the continuity of our community," Zlochower said. "Many other Torahs were turned into lampshades. . . . [They] represent the vitality of the Jewish community."

They also symbolize the hope that the memory of the genocide will be remembered, the rabbi said, and that such actions can be avoided in the future. Genocide and mass killings continue, but Zlochower and the residents said they hope they will end.

"The lesson, what we carry with us, is not fear and not even anger," Zlochower said. "We carry with us a determination."

The average age of residents at the center is in the late 80s. Those who survived the Holocaust, and those who experienced it through the loss of loved ones, were mostly children when it began. Auerbach and Starkman both raised families in the United States after immigrating here in the 1950s, and have both told their stories to children.

"They've demonstrated more strength than any other 10 people combined," Zlochower said. Their story "is a story that should inspire us."

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