FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rebecca Engel
Charleston Jewish Federation
April 25, 2019
On Wednesday, May 1st at 10:00 AM, Charleston citizen and Holocaust Survivor Joe Engel will be recognized in the South Carolina Statehouse for his role in helping the world to remember the Holocaust. May 1, 2019 will be designated as Joe Engel Day in South Carolina.
At 5:30PM the same day, there will be a special screening of Joe's documentary, To Auschwitz and Back: The Joe Engel Story in Columbia at Nickelodeon Theater accompanied by a proclamation by Columbia Mayor, Steve Benjamin. There will also be a talk-back after the film with the film’s director, Ron Small, and subject of the film, Holocaust Survivor Joe Engel.
On September 1, 1939, the day the Germans invaded Poland, Joe Engel’s hometown of Zakroczym was destroyed. On a transport to Auschwitz, Joe was packed in a cattle car, standing up for two and a half days with no food or water. When he recounts his time in Auschwitz Concentration Camp, he often says “I could stay here for 24 hours and it wouldn’t be enough to tell you all the terrible things I saw. How one person could do these things to another – because of their nationality and religion – should never happen again.” During the Death March, Engel escaped from a transport train to Czechoslovakia, where he joined up with the resistance and went on missions to explode German ammunition. Engel was liberated by the Red Army in March 1945. Out of the 150 members of Joe’s family that lived in Poland, only 4 survived the Holocaust.
After the war, Joe was released into the care of his family in Charleston, where he ran a Dry Cleaning company until his retirement. Now 91, Joe has dedicated much of his life in Charleston sharing his story of survival and the consequences of hate.
Engel will be honored at the Statehouse (1100 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29208) at 10am. From there, all participants will move to the House Library for an opportunity to shake Joe’s hand, followed by his being honored on the Senate side of the Statehouse.
The resolution opens with the following, “TO RECOGNIZE AND HONOR JOE ENGEL, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR AND COMMUNITY LEADER, FOR HIS ROLE IN HELPING THE WORLD TO REMEMBER; TO MEMORIALIZE YOM HASHOAH, HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY; AND TO DESIGNATE MAY 1, 2019, AS "JOE ENGEL DAY" IN SOUTH CAROLINA.”
The Resolution, H*3912, was introduced in the House on February 6, 2019, to the Senate on February 12, 2019 and adopted by the General Assembly on February 12, 2019. To view the bill and legislative sponsors, click here: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess123_2019-2020/bills/3912.htm
A bus will be going from Charleston – more information at bsbisynagogue.com.