Winfrey Urges People To Remember Victims’ Sacrifices
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Joanie Lum

(CBS) CHICAGO Oprah Winfrey is one of the most influential people in Chicago, and Wednesday she spoke out on one of the world’s most horrific crimes in history: the Holocaust.

CBS 2’s Joanie Lum reports on the powerful and emotional lunchtime speech.

“I was there one day, one day and I’m haunted by the memory,” Winfrey said.

Winfrey describes the Auschwitz death camp she visited last spring with Elie Wiesel, the author of the book titled “Night.”

The best-selling Holocaust memoir was chosen for the One Book, One Chicago program and was an Oprah Book Club selection.

Three thousand people gathered to hear her speak at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum fundraiser.

“What I know for sure is those millions that did not survive want us to never forget the hopes that they sacrificed there on the killing grounds,” said Winfrey.

There were emotional accounts of ultimate sacrifice.

“My father was murdered, my grandparents, aunts and uncles sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz,” said Freida Weinberg, a Holocaust survivor.

To illustrate how history is repeated, a girl who escaped the 1994 genocide in Rwanda told how she felt hunted when she was just 6 years old.

“I felt like nowhere in the world could we be safe. Everywhere we went we were chased, we had to hide,” said Clemantine Wamariya.

Organizers say Holocaust denial is on the rise.

But when Oprah Winfrey embraces an issue, the world listens.

“I think Oprah is definitely a spokesman and she has tremendous influence,” said Winfrey fan Judy Maister.

“When she gives a voice to something, the book club to whatever, there’s no end to it,” said Nancy Demasi, also a fan.

Winfrey said she’s humbled by the courage and faith of Holocaust survivors and it’s everyone’s moral responsibility to learn to serve others.

She and other speakers urged the audience to remember that the same persecution is now happening in Sudan.