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Holocaust survivor's take on Poway synagogue shooting

Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 28, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-31 18:51:00-05

LA JOLLA, Calif., (KGTV) -- Hundreds of people from the San Diego Jewish community attended Yom Hashoah, or the Holocaust Remembrance Event, at the Lawrence Family Community Center. This planned event took place one day after the Poway Synagogue shooting that killed one and wounded three.

Hundreds of San Diegans honored the survivors. Survivors like A25893. That is what Rose Schindler was to the Nazi's: A slave laborer with that serial number tattooed to her left arm. To them, she was not a 14-year-old Jewish girl from Czechoslovakia.

"I was skin and bone. I could barely stand on my feet," Schindler remembered. She spent four dreadful months in the Auschwitz concentration camp. She saw people die every day. But Schindler somehow survived.

"It's a miracle," she said.

After the war, she moved to England, then to the US, thinking that Anti-Semitism was gone. But it was not.

"I felt awful. How could this happen?" Those were her thoughts after hearing that a gunman went on a shooting spree in a Poway Synagogue Saturday morning.

"I thought I was back in Europe, back in 1939," Schindler said. It took her right back to the moment she was staring into a rifle. "Innocent people, praying to god and some animal comes in and does this."

Rabbi Goldstein was shot in the hand. A young girl and her uncle were injured by shrapnel. 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye died shielding the Rabbi.

Gilbert-Kaye's friend Rick Barton chairs the local Anti-Defamation League. He was at the Yom Hashoah event.

"What she did was who she was. She thought of others first," Barton said.

Sadly, he said this tragedy is not a rarity.

"There are going to be others like in Christchurch, in Sri Lanka and others that buy into a message that gives them permission to act out on their hate," Barton said. "We need to combat that type of hatred through education, through what appeals to people's goodwill."

That goodwill that Schindler's siblings could not carry out, because hatred killed them in Auschwitz. But Rose Schindler survived. So did the rest of the worshippers in the Poway Synagogue. They now join the club of strong souls, who share the title of "survivor."

"We have to hope for better things. Remember one thing. Never give up," Schindler said.