The Project Traces to Remember Initiates in Colombia


Traces to Remember

A project created though the initiative of Peace Activist, Dr. William Soto, with the objective of leaving a worldwide legacy of survival to future generations; rescuing the historic memory of the Holocaust, in which more than 6 million Jews died.

Traces to Remember was launched in Colombia. The project consists of creating commemorative plaques that contain the handprints of Holocaust survivors as evidence that the nation of Israel lives. The exhibition of these plaques may be itinerant or stationary.

 The first evidence of survival was made in Colombia. This itinerant plaque includes the handprints of a son and grandson of the Holocaust survivor, completing three generations of the Hasltuch family: Sigmund, 82 years old, Carlos, 48 years old, and Yoel, 13 years old.


The Embassy of Poland - January 19, 2012

 The plaque’s first stop could not have been more symbolic: the Embassy of Poland. This is the country in which Auschwitz, the largest Nazi extermination camp, was built, as well as the birthplace of Sigmund Halstuch.  

 The event was attended by religious leaders, ambassadors, and members of the Jewish community of Colombia.


 Jacek Perlin, Ambassador of Poland to Colombia 

"When I was asked to allow the first plaque of this beautiful campaign to be exhibited here, in commemoration of the Holocaust, with the objective to preserve peace, my decision was: ‘of course!’ It's without question; that is what the country that I represent owes to the Jewish community.”  


―Dr. William Soto Santiago, Benefactor and Honorary President of the Project―

"We declare ourselves defenders of victims, and friends of those who love peace and justice."


Embassy of Germany - February 27, 2012

 The Embassy of Germany was the plaque’s second stop, where it was emphasized that the purpose is to keep the memory of this horrific crime alive and make it a moral obligation to honor the survivors of the Holocaust.


―Jurgen Christian Mertens, Ambassador of Germany to Colombia―

"To receive this plaque at the Embassy today, in honor of the survivors of the Holocaust, is a privilege and at the same time an important challenge to continue working together with all of you so that such atrocious crimes are never repeated in the history of humanity, so that there never be another genocide attempt, and lastly, so that there be peace in the Middle East."


Embassy of Guatemala - March 29, 2012

 Guatemala continues to be a special memory to Israel. During its exhibition at the Embassy, the plaque revived memories of past events, like the vote in the United Nations that gave Israel its Statehood in 1948.


―Carlos Ramiro Santiago Morales, Ambassador of Guatemala to Colombia―

"We had the luck of being the country that broke the tie to accept the Nation of Israel in the United Nations, and since then, Israel has expressed its gratitude to us, just as we express our gratitude to them for everything they have given us."


Universidad Santo Tomas - April 26, 2012

 One month later, in its fourth stop, the plaque was exhibited in the oldest university of Colombia, characterized by its Christian and humanist way of thought. 


―Great Rabbi Alfredo Goldschmidt, Israeli Center of Bogota, Colombia―

"This plaque exhibited here in Universidad Santo Tomas, serves as a very, very important bridge, which I hope the students understand. This could not have happened, a plaque like this, 50 years ago or 100 years ago, let alone 400 years ago, during the black era of relations, the inquisition era..."


―Fr. Carlos Mario Álzate Montes, Rector of Universidad Santo Tomas―

“It is in our hands, in the hands of the academic, diplomatic, and business world, in the hands of the entire society, that there never be an opportunity for the destruction of different peoples, or the deprivation of people’s fundamental rights, thus giving in to intolerance and fanaticism." 


Israeli Center of Bogota, Colombia – August 5, 2012

―Eng. Leon Varty, President of the Israeli Center of Bogota―

“If we have the strength to continue narrating the exodus of Egypt after more than three thousand years, we will have no trouble in continuing to remember the Holocaust as well, and what it meant for the history of civilization.”


In its fifth stop, the plaque was accompanied by the exposition of the Macabi World Union’s booklet: Israel, Realidades para Llevar en Tu Bolsillo [Israel, Realities to Keep in Your Pocket].

This compact publication was created in Israel as part of an educational program which seeks to clarify the realities of the conflict in the Middle East and the countless contributions the State of Israel has made to humanity.


―Dr. William Soto Santiago, Benefactor and Honorary President of the Project―

"That is why, in these times it is necessary to be certain of who our true friends are, those who are not with us out of convenience or who will change their opinion under political or economic pressures.” 


Colegio Colombo Hebreo of Bogota - September 12, 2012

The youth could not be left behind in this initiative; one of them in particular called the attention of society.


―College Student, Joey Sasson - Colegio Colombo Hebreo―

"With their handprints engraved on this plaque, they demand the truth and quiet the fear of silence and indifference of all the societies that have consented to violence, including the Colombian society."


―Yoed Magen, Ambassador of Israel to Colombia―

"A country that was born, that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust; a country whose existence is the only guarantee we have nowadays that another Holocaust won’t happen."


―Dr. William Soto Santiago, Benefactor and Honorary President of the Project―

“We cannot remain silent, because that was a main problem in the Holocaust, the silence of the people and governments of other countries, who, despite knowing what was going on, did not raise their voices; they remained passive observers, and they became accomplices without realizing it.”


Various nations are embracing this initiative to rescue the testimony of other survivors’ families and thus avoid another Holocaust.