This morning the siren that commemorates the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust was activated by 77 year old Stephanie Portnoy, a Holocaust survivor.
Portnoy was joined by her son Lieutenant Colonel Yoni Portnoy who sat beside her in an IDF war room where the siren is activated as she rang the siren of remembrance which makes all of Israel stop whatever they were doing and stand at attention for two minutes in commemoration of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.
As a child in Poland, Portnoy was hidden in the home of her fathers work collegue. Her father and mother were both killed by the Nazis.
Portnoy’s hid in a closet for three years in a house across the tsreet from the Gestapo headquarters. After the war, Portnoy was sent to England and at the age of 9, where she was adopted.
“I met a lot of people who were kind to me along the way,” she says. “I learned that in every situation, at least one good thing can be done: people risked their lives to protect me, despite the difficulty and danger that was involved, and I owe them my life.”
“My mother’s story is a lesson for me,” said Portnoy’s son, Yoni. “As a commander in the reserves of the Emergency Alert Unit, I am in charge of the war room that alerts the country when there is a threat to the residents of Israel. Today, the siren is not a siren of warning but a siren of unification, a siren of memory.”