Pedro Lilienfeld

The Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council announces the annual Holocaust Memorial Commemoration gathering at the Concord Town House on April 26 at 7:00 PM. This year’s speaker is Holocaust survivor Pedro Lilienfeld, a resident of Lexington for almost 50 years. When he looks back on his childhood, Lilienfeld says, several events stand out: the confinement of his father in a French internment camp; the overnight stay by two Nazi soldiers in their home with a warning that the Gestapo would come; and a narrow escape from Nazi soldiers at a train border crossing.

Pedro Lilienfeld was born in Madrid in 1934, and then fled to Vichy, France, at the onset of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. He moved back to Spain in 1941 before embarking on a three-month journey to South America. Lilienfeld was eight when his family settled in Ecuador in 1942. 16 years later, he came to the United States as a graduate student. He recalls that three petitions by his family to emigrate to the United States were denied.

“The refusal of the US to accept us when we were in dire need could have cost our lives. I’m sure it cost the lives of others,” he said. “In all the debates over immigration, I think a little bit more humanity is never wrong.”

Also participating in the commemoration is cantor Rosalie Gerut, and Rabbi Darby Leigh of Temple Kerem Shalom. This is a solemn occasion to remember why a focused commitment to human rights is essential to a just and civil democracy.

The event welcomes the public and is without cost.