Hundreds Of Holocaust Survivors Attend Chicago Luncheon Fundraiser

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s annual memorial luncheon for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum took place Friday afternoon at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel.

Organizers of the Risa K. Lambert Chicago Luncheon fundraiser said more than 300 Holocaust survivors were at the benefit. The annual event was hoping to raise more than $5 million for the U.S. Holocaust Museum, to keep Holocaust memory and education alive. The honoree of the luncheon was Richard Price, the chairman and chief executive of Chicago-based financial services company Mesirow Financial Inc.

The survivors and their families sat at the front of the room, also guests of honor. WBBM’s Steve Miller spoke to a couple of the hundreds in attendance.

Like Khava Kogan of Chicago, who’s in her 90’s now, remembering her brother who died.

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Khava Kogan, holocaust survivor. (WBBM/Steve Miller)

“Germany took my brother and more men, and they put them in a storage room and they make a fire.”

She said he brother was burned to death.

Then a neighbor, who was not Jewish, pretended to be her mother and saved her life after Germans lined them up.

“And this woman (said), ‘This is my daughter. I don’t know why she’s scared.’ And she grabbed me. And I couldn’t say nothing to my mom.

“She take me, this woman, to her house,” Kogan said.

And Inna Ostrova, now in her 80’s, said she was 5-and-a-half when World War II started. Her family began a long trek east to escape the Nazis.

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Inna Ostrova, holocaust survivor (WBBM/Steve Miller)

“We asked somebody to help us with food. But sometimes they’d give it to us, sometimes no,” Ostrova said.

Then, she said, they were put on a train.

“But train was not for people. It was for animals,” Ostrova said. “We saw airplanes – Germany, and they pushed bombs. And we hide in the forest. And somebody, we saw, was killed.”

Now with two sons who both have families of their own, she tells her story, her memories.

“I’m glad that I can live and say about this,” she said.

The Risa K. Lambert Chicago Luncheon is the largest annual fundraiser on behalf of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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