"Anyone can go to the Holocaust museum [in Washington DC] but not everyone gets this experience." ~A. Speitel (student, 17)
The Holocaust Awareness Museum Remembers Hans Salomon
All of the people who had the honor and privilege of getting to know Hans Salomon were tremendously saddened by his death. He was a kind, gentle, loving and dedicated man. He endured the ultimate indignities with dignity. He responded to cruelty with love and compassion. He emerged victorious over his oppressors by creating a wonderful life with his beloved wife Ruth and his beautiful family.
Those of us who got to witness his survivor presentations to hundreds of area school children have amazing memories of his courage, grace, determination and humor. Here are just a few that I can share with you.
Hans drove to the museum one morning to do a program. Before he went into the theater, he had to rest from the relatively short walk from his car. While sitting in the museum, I suggested that as his boss I was ordering him to "work" for the museum 24 hours a day--7 days a week. Hans replied that he would work 25 hours a day for our important cause. He then spoke to and answered questions from eager young people for over an hour. Afterwards he was refreshed to the point of having a bounce in his step!
Hans often told his audiences that he never lost his faith in God and that he never would reject his religion or his people. Many times he responded to questioners that he would not dignify his oppressors with his voice if he were to ever see them.
Hans always emphasized his love for Tracy Strong, his rescuer. Tracy is "the man next to God" Hans would proclaim taking delight in purposely not telling children of Tracy's fate during his presentation. Hans knew that the first question from the audience would be, "What happened to Tracy Strong?". The students expected to be told about Tracy's life after the war and his eventual passing. Hans would smile and respond, "Oh Tracy's fine, I just talked to him last week!". Imagine the gasps and applause.
In fact, the last time I talked to him, Hans informed me that Tracy was looking forward to coming back to Philadelphia this fall to reprise the reunion we facilitated in April of 2009. We hope to see Tracy again in October.
In the meantime, Hans continues his mission and work for our museum. We show his reunion and program DVDs to audiences throughout the Delaware Valley and we will continue to do so, 25 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Thank you Hans for making our lives richer in all ways. We will always miss you.
President, Board of Directors