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News | May 1, 2017

Distribution honors Holocaust Remembrance Day

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Employees of DLA Distribution Headquarters in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, paid respect to Holocaust Remembrance Day on Apr. 26, with a presentation featuring Dr. Edward S. Beck, a retired college professor and professional counselor. This year’s theme was “Learning from the Holocaust: the Strength of the Human Spirit.”

“DLA Distribution joins our nation in April's Holocaust Days of Remembrance, and Holocaust Remembrance Day-Yom HaShoah, as we remember the suffering and death of the millions persecuted under Nazi Germany during World War II,” DLA Distribution’s deputy commander, Twila C. Gonzales said during her opening remarks.

Gonzales spoke about putting the events of the Holocaust into perspective for a logistics agency. “The industrial scale of these crimes reminds us of the important difference between efficiency and doing good. This multi-agency core of logisticians and supply officers was efficient, yet blind to the ethics of their evil task.”  

Gonzales wrapped up her remarks by introducing the guest speaker. “Dr. Beck is a retired college professor and professional counselor.  Among his many affiliations were Penn State Harrisburg, University of Pennsylvania, Walden University and New York University.”

The son of a Holocaust Survivor from Nazi Austria, Beck has been married for 49 years to his wife, Esther, the daughter of Holocaust Survivors from Poland.

Beck’s father, the son of international leather merchants in Nazi occupied Austria, was detained for several weeks in a Nazi jail before he was able to flee the country and escape to the United States. Though his father would never speak of his time in custody, he credits his experiences for his decision to become a doctor.

“He wanted to help people after everything he saw while imprisoned,” explained Beck.

Once arriving in America, only speaking French and German, Beck’s father attempted to enroll at Columbia University in New York. However, he was told he needed to learn English before he would be accepted into the school. He ended up taking English courses at City College in New York City before returning to Columbia for his undergraduate degree. He finally received his Medical Degree from New York University.

Beck’s in-law’s had more of a “full blown” Holocaust experience. His mother-in-law, one of 11 children, watched as three of her brothers were executed publicly. The last remaining family photo was from that event. Of her siblings, three of them survived. She and her two sisters managed to make it through the Holocaust. “They survived because they had blonde hair and blue eyes.”

Beck’s father-in-law and his first wife and daughter were captured by the Nazi’s. He survived, but they did not make it through until the liberation.

“It is a dubious distinction being the child of a Holocaust Survivor,” said Beck. “Now they are gone, it is our turn to tell their stories.”

The Holocaust Remembrance Day event also featured Betty Joyner of the Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania performing the National Anthem. Additionally, Rose Snavely-Howe, supervisor program analyst in DLA Distributions Acquisitions Operations and Sharon Heiner, a former DLA employee performed “When I am Silent” written by Joan Varner.

The program concluded with Gonzales presenting Beck with a star note in appreciation of his participation in the event.