Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Remembering Holocaust victims

Their lives, and how they died, will never be forgotten

  • Print

Miron Blumental never knew his older half-brother. This brother, named Ariel, was 31/2 years old when he was murdered by the Nazis in his Galician hometown at 11:40 on the morning of June 7, 1943. Miron was not born until many years later, remarkably, at 11:40 on the morning of June 7 -- the same date and the same time his brother was shot and killed.

Ariel's remains are interred in the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw. His name is being engraved on a memorial in Winnipeg.

The Holocaust Monument Project was unveiled in 1990. Erected on the grounds of the provincial legislature, the memorial gave Manitoba Jews the opportunity to formally remember their loved ones killed in the Holocaust by having their names etched in stone.

Three-thousand names were initially engraved on the monument and another 56 were inscribed in 1997. This fall, about 50 more are being added to the cenotaph. In addition to his brother's name, Blumental has arranged for the names of his uncle, two aunts and three grandparents to be engraved.

"I don't know of any other memorials like this outside of Israel," says Blumental, who sits on the Holocaust Awareness Committee that oversees the project. "What is wonderful about this monument is that it is unique, very welcoming and accepting and on government land. It is an official monument."

Most of the individuals submitting names to the memorial this time around are, like Blumental, relative newcomers to Winnipeg. Blumental, who emigrated from England with his family about 11/2 years ago, is one of about 4,000 immigrants who have joined the Winnipeg Jewish community in the last decade.

Bella Shatokhin came to Winnipeg from Israel via Belarus in 2005. She has submitted five names to the memorial project, including those of her grandparents and an aunt, all of whom disappeared in 1941.

"I want their names to be remembered. I want their names to live forever," Shatokhin says. "They went through so much during the war; they either disappeared and were never heard of again, or they died trying to fight the Nazis. If I do not do this, they will be forever forgotten."

Gabor Vamos has also arranged for the names of his maternal grandparents and uncle to be inscribed on the cenotaph. They were among 54 of his family members who were rounded up in Hungary in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz.

"When the Winnipeg planners of the original memorial solicited names to be inscribed, I was travelling around the world and not aware of the opportunity to add my relatives' names," Vamos explains. "I am very pleased that this chance to add names to the memorial will allow my three sons and their families to acknowledge our personal loss."

"The Holocaust should always be remembered," adds Shatokhin. "Everyone should know of the atrocities that occurred."

Given the nature of these atrocities, most Holocaust victims were not properly buried and their graves, if they exist at all, were not properly marked. Entire families and entire towns were wiped out, leaving no one to bear witness and no one to remember them.

Blumental perhaps knows better than most the circumstances surrounding the murder of his relatives, mainly because his father, renowned historian Nachmun Blumental, devoted his life to memorializing their's.

"My dad came back from Siberia and everything was gone. All of his family, his wife and son," says Blumental.

"His house was still standing but there was no trace of Jews in town at all, and they had been one-third of the population."

After the war, Blumental's father wrote several books about the Holocaust and was a founder of the Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw.

"His memorial," his son says, "was to make sure the facts are there and that people remember."

Here in Winnipeg, Blumental is now carrying on his father's legacy. By serving on the Holocaust Awareness Committee and by inscribing his relatives' names on the local Holocaust memorial, he is ensuring their lives and the way in which they died will not be forgotten.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2012 J13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Trouba talks about injury and potential for Jets

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose   reaches for long strands of grass Friday night near McGillvary Blvd-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 19 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the government's announcement that there will be no balanced provincial budget until 2018?

View Results

Ads by Google