Posted on Sun, Sep. 27, 2009
Teen's 'mitzvah' honors Holocaust victims
BY JULIE LEVINS
Special to The Miami Herald
13-year-old David Broide is trying to collect six million pennies in honor of those lost in the holocaust. Here, the Hollywood teen shows some of what he's collected so far.
David Broide truly understands the value of a penny. The Hollywood 13-year-old is trying to collect six million pennies in honor of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust.
"Not only does it represent the human souls that have passed, it represents the living human survivors of the Holocaust who were part of it,'' said David, who is collecting the coins for his mitzvah project in honor of his recent bar mitzvah.
David put out his appeal for pennies in his invitations to his bar mitzvah, which he celebrated Aug. 21. He is also hoping to set up donation bins at his school, the Samuel Scheck H Community Day School in North Miami Beach, and others around the community.
His initial goal is to raise at least 1.5 million pennies, one for each of the children who died in the Holocaust.
If David makes it, he said he will continue pushing for six million.
"The generation in which the Holocaust survivors are here is running out,'' the sixth-grader said. ``We need to keep the story going so nothing like this happens again. If we stop, people won't be educated about it and something similar could happen.''
David decided to take on the penny project in honor of his late grandfather José Broide, who was the sole survivor of his childhood family.
At age 17, Broide escaped into the forests of Bransk, Poland, with his brother, where they became resistance fighters, saving many lives. Broide went on to write a book about his experience.
He made a big impression on his young grandson. Not long after Broide's death in 2008, David went to his parents Helena and Bernard with the idea for the project.
"For a child who is not 13 and who tells you I want to honor my grandparents and remember, is pretty amazing,'' Helena said.
As the penny collection grows, it will be on display at the South Florida Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in downtown Hollywood. Once the collection is complete, David plans to donate them to the center, to go toward the construction of the center's Holocaust museum.
Rita Hofrichter, a Holocaust survivor and volunteer at the center, said it's encouraging to see younger generations moved to action. "That is our aim, so we do not forget and that we go forward and try to eradicate hate and the prejudices,'' said the Sunny Isles woman, who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as a young girl.
David has created a website for the project called www.NeverForgetNeverAgain.org.
Rositta Kenigsberg, the executive vice president of the South Florida Holocaust Documentation and Education Center, said she is proud to see more young people keeping their message alive. She recalled what her father, a Holocaust survivor, used to tell her. "As long as there is someone to tell the story, there is life. As long as there is someone to listen, there is hope,'' she said.
To contribute to the penny project, e-mail email@example.com or drop off pennies at the South Florida Holocaust Documentation and Education Center, 2031 Harrison St., Hollywood; 954-929-5690; www.hdec.org.