Cleveland woman, Holocaust survivor worried about Anti-Semitic threats

Posted at 8:57 AM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 08:58:06-04

Erika Gold sifted through photos of her relatives as she remembered them and her time fleeing from Adolf Hitler's regime during the Holocaust. She and her parents are one of the few from her family to survive and she's saddened to see the rise in anti-Semitic and expressions of hate throughout the country. 

"It's scary because you don't know what these people are going to, are capable of doing to people," she said.

There has been a surge in Anti-Semitic incidents and threats around the country and throughout the Northeast Ohio in suburban cities such as Lorain and Beachwood since the November election. 

Hundreds of Jewish community centers received bomb threats earlier this month and local law enforcement officials have opened investigations in several major cities to determine why headstones at cemeteries were turned over and vandalized. 

The incidents are a traumatic experience for those directly impacted and some in Cleveland's Jewish community are growing nervous.

Gold says the recent incidents seem far too familiar and brings back so many painful memories. 

“Those memories are," she said with a pause before continuing, "they never go away."

Gold was forced to leave her native country Hungary at 11 years old by German soldiers. 

"I had no idea what was going on, I did not know what might happen, I knew that I could be killed any minute, but what to do about it, I had no idea," she said.

Many of her relatives were gassed. They didn't deserve it because they didn't do anything wrong, she said. 

But Gold and her parents made it out. She travels and shares her story as a volunteer at museums and schools, hoping others won't forget the horror of the holocaust.

“Maybe the reason that I survived, is that I can tell my story and that it did happen, and telling the story so that it should not happen again, so I don't know if it's doing any good, unfortunately, because people haven't learned," she said. 

But her work continues and keeping her story relevant is her mission as another generation deals with a tirade of hate, pain and suffering. 

“I don't know where all this hate comes from," she said. "I mean I remember that people were talking and nobody would believe that anything horrible is going to happen. You couldn't imagine it, but it did."