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Newport Beach Patch

Newport Beach Patch

Holocaust Survivor Recounts Memories at Exhibition Opening

Jack Pariser shared memories of surviving the Holocaust with his family at the opening of "The Courage to Remember" traveling exhibit at the Newport Beach Central Library.

By Jessica Burger

Tears and laughter filled a room at the Central Public Library Monday as Jack Pariser, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor, spoke at the opening ceremony of “The Courage to Remember” traveling exhibit.

More than 50 people joined Pariser as he recounted his experience as a 13-year-old Jewish teen who escaped from a jail in Poland, with his parents and older sister, by digging a hole under a window with a pen cap. Pariser said his family then went into hiding in order to survive the Nazi slaughter of his village in 1942.

“Do you see me here?” Pariser, a resident of Laguna Beach, asked during his emotional presentation. “I’m standing here. That’s a lot to smile about.”

“The Courage to Remember,” a traveling exhibit produced by the Museum of Tolerance, is on display at the Newport Beach Central Library through July 29. It is located on the second floor of the library at 10000 Avocado Ave.

At the exhibit's opening, Pariser also spoke about his desire "to preclude genocide," and said in order to make a real difference research is needed immediately.

Corona del Mar resident Reuven Mintz, and his wife Chani, attended the exhibit's opening ceremony. The couple has gone to temple with Pariser for years and said he is an inspiration.

“His mission of the last 10 years of his life is to gather Holocaust survivors, with the noble goal of eradicating genocide from the face of this earth,” Reuven Mintz said.

Cheryl Jacobson, a resident of Santa Ana, was also in attendance and said she thought the most incredible part of Pariser’s presentation was his positive demeanor.

“Seeing somebody who survived all that with his perky attitude," Jacobson said. "He goes around and tells his story of survival with his wonderful family.”

Huguette Wilson of Newport Beach said that Pariser’s story reminded her to be grateful for her own journey. She fled Egypt to come to America in 1959 with only $19 dollars in her pocket.

“I was very touched,” Wilson said. “He made me aware of how appreciative I am that my husband got me out of Egypt.”

The traveling exhibit contains over 200 photographs on 40 different panels, retracing the history of events during the Holocaust from 1933-1945. "The Courage to Remember" was first assembled 20 years ago and has traveled to more than 200 locations in 16 countries.