Regina Engelberg was born on June 15, 1925 in Opole, Poland and later on she moved with her parents and 8 brothers to the city of Lodz. When World War II broke out, they were imprisoned in the city’s ghetto, where her father and brother died; her mother died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chamber. Regina is alive today because she was selected to work at an aircraft assembly plant in Berlin, where she remained for about one year before being released.
The story of Regina Engelberg, an example of perseverance and life for the human family, was presented through the project Traces to Remember in Guatemala.
On July 27, 2013, the commemorative Engelberg family plaque was inaugurated and unveiled at Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Global Embassy of Activists for Peace and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the event.
Karla Samayoa, General Director of Bilateral International Relations, was present at the event and expressed that it was an honor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host this meaningful ceremony that aims to preserve the individual stories of the survivors of one of the most horrific atrocities to occur in the twentieth century: the Holocaust.
—Karla Samayoa, General Director of Bilateral International Relations—
“It is an honor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host this meaningful ceremony in which we are inaugurating and unveiling the commemorative plaque of the project Traces to Remember, which aims to preserve the individual stories of the survivors of one of the most horrific atrocities to occur in the twentieth century, the Holocaust, which claimed more than six million lives.
Every event or ceremony like today’s reinforces our memory to honor the innocent victims of this incomprehensible event, and particularly, in today’s homage, to keep alive the testimony of Holocaust survivors.”
Dr. William Soto emphasized that the Holocaust is recognized as one of the gravest crimes against humanity, and at the same time one of the most serious attacks on human rights. He also stressed that to avoid another genocide, it is fundament to focus on education.
—Dr. William Soto Santiago, Ambassador of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace—
“To avoid a new genocide it is fundamental to focus on education. The Holocaust is the paradigm par excellence of the act of genocide, and as such, the Holocaust must be a subject of study in schools and public and private colleges, and a case study in universities.”
The Ambassadors of Israel and Germany also participated in the ceremony.
—Moshe Bachar, Ambassador of Israel to Guatemala—
“The Holocaust was a historical event that cannot be compared to any similar act in the history of human life. This project, Traces to Remember, is an initiative whose purpose is to keep alive the testimony of Holocaust survivors as a way to prevent, so that we never forget what took place, so that it is not repeated in the human mind.”
—Tomas Schafer, Ambassador of Germany to Guatemala—
“We think about the persecution, the pain and the suffering inflicted upon so many people, so many families; the Holocaust, but also the provocation of World War II, the suffering of millions of innocent people, and the destruction of an entire continent, for Germany, all of this constitutes a historical fault that will never disappear, and that Germans have had to accept as part of our history.”
Jaime and Alex Torum, the son and grandson of Regina Engelberg, expressed words of gratitude and spoke about having her in their lives.
—Jaime Torum, son of Holocaust Survivor Regina Engelberg—
“What is truly admirable about my parents, and what always comes to mind, is that they never instilled in us hate towards the German people. When we would ask them how it was possible for them to interact with Germans, they would tell us that the current German people have nothing to do with what their ancestors did. I believe that this reflects the Jewish principle of love for one’s neighbor.”
—Alex Torum, grandson of Holocaust survivor Regina Engelberg—
“I take this opportunity to mention the immense pride we have always felt for them and their stories. They are not stories of terror or pity or shame; these are stories of courage, optimism and love for life. Today we remember, and we are witnesses of perhaps the darkest chapter of humanity, and although we wish we could forget it, it’s indispensable to do the exactly opposite: to remember it so that it is not repeated in any corner of the world, or against any population in the world.”
[Unveling of the plaque]
The unveiling of the plaque was an important moment for Regina Engelberg and her family.
After the ceremony, Fernando Carrera, Foreign Minister of Guatemala, the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace, and other personalities met later that evening at the Intercontinental Hotel to discuss the proposal of a bill to include the Holocaust as a course of study in schools and as a case study in universities.
—Fernando Carrera, Foreign Minister of Guatemala—
“Truly, the subject of the Shoah is a fundamental subject for humanity. I believe that those of us who have had the experience of closely coming to know not only the story told by the witnesses or the people who lived through it, but also having been in the places where part of this story took place; we have been impacted for the rest of our lives by what happened.
What has impacted my life the most about the message of the Shoah is the message of hope: it is always possible for life to survive, and it is always possible for life to prevail.”
—Dr. William Soto, Ambassador of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace—
“This initiative consists of the exhibition of a plaque with the handprints of a Holocaust survivor and his or her descendants; it simultaneously creates opportunities for reflection in congresses, embassies, universities, schools, institutes, museums, the media and public places, with the purpose of teaching about genocides, in particular, the Holocaust and its consequences, but above all, with the purpose of creating opportunities for analysis in order to educate new generations and thus avoiding the repetition of these acts. “