PALM COAST, Fla. – A Palm Coast piano teacher who survived the Holocaust is hoping to have an impact on future generations by sharing her story.
A recent study found an alarming number of Millennials don’t know basic facts about the Holocaust- nearly half couldn’t name a single concentration camp.
Claire Soria, a local Holocaust survivor who lost all but three family members, finds the study hard to believe. She has spoken at schools and shared her story with countless young people. She believes that while it’s obvious they know what happened; survivors like her must share their experience to make sure it’s not forgotten.
It’s one reason why the faces of Holocaust survivors are inside the Jewish Family and Community Services building on Jacksonville's Southside.
Despite everything she's been through, Soria has an infectious spirit and a drive to tell her family's story-which began in her native country of Belgium.
Photos of her parents Nathan and Sara sit perfect alongside her treasured sewing basket, which she takes everywhere. They were her father's last birthday present to her and it’s what she has to remember her parents by.
She was 6-years-old when she was placed into hiding. Her aunt, uncle, and other family members were sent to Auschwitz. In all, Soria lost more than 50 family members. As a child, she wondered if she'd be next.
"When is it going to be my turn? When am I going to be the one taken away? Every time I heard that, I would of course, cry my eyes out," said Soria.
After the war, Soria moved to the U.S. where she now shares her story with anyone who will listen. She shares her faith too, starting with her Star of David.
"In those days, this is the one thing I would never, never do. Now I wear it with pride," said Soria.
She hopes by sharing her story, people will take away an important lesson.
"Not speaking up is how we got into trouble in the first place. So, we have to learn to get along," said Soria who is determined to leave behind a more loving and accepting world for our future generations- including her three children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Even with having lost so many family members to the Holocaust, she does not harbor any hatred toward the people who did this. By doing that, she said it lets them win.