Tears came to Harriet Steinhorn's eyes as she lit her candle yesterday in remembrance of the estimated 6 million Jews who were killed by Nazis in Europe more than 30 years ago.
More than 600 persons attended solemn memorial services at Adas Israel Congregration in Northwest Washington, beginning a national weeklong observance to honor and remember the victims of the Holocaust. President Carter also has proclaimed this week "the days of remembrance."
"In our tradition, we light candles for the dead," said Steinhorn, a survivor of five concentration camps. She was rescued when she was 16 years old.
The memorial, sponsored by the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, is an annual event. This year the memorial also commemorates the 36th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943, in which Polish Jews resisted Nazi soldiers in a heroic struggle.
"The same doubts trouble us, the same tears stain our cheeks," said Rabbi Israel Miller, vice president of Yeshiva University, speaking to the congregation about the sufferings of Jews throughout history. "The word that we nust all keep in our minds is 'remember' - we must remember.
"I am not bothered when [Israeli Prime Minister Menachem] Begin gives his lecture to Carter or [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat on the Jewish history," Miller said, "Remember - that's our commandment. The world must be taught again what it did not do before [to prevent the Holocaust].
"Remembrance is positive, [but] not merely to remember the past," Miller said. "It means deeds in addition to prayers. It means I feel the pain for whatever happens to our brethren in Russia. Many who died in that Holocaust gave their lives so that others may live today."
Steinhorn, a Silver Spring mother of three all born in the United States, sadly remembers "the enormous amount of courage and heroism among the victims of the concentration camps."
"The victims risked their lives so that I would live," she said. "There were 93 of us, all suffering from typhus in a barrack in Hasag, Germany. It was december 1942, and we were scheduled to be killed the next day because since we were sick, we were of no use to the Nazis who used us for slave labor in their ammunition factories.
"One night, a man and a woman threw a blanket over me and took me out," she said. "Apparently they were allowed to save one person from being killed the next day, and because I was the youngest-13-they took me.
"As they carried me out, I heard the others still in the barracks yell 'Remember me to my parents, my brother, my sisters, tell the world what has happened here," said Steinhorn fighting back tears.
"To keep me from going back to the barrack to be killed, women in my [new] barrack carried me to work, they did my share of the work and hid me when they could.
"This is what helped me overcome the bitterness," said Steinhorn, who, for the last 20 years has lectured to school children about the Holocaust. "I saw humanity and self-sacrifice of the inmates for one another." CAPTION: Picture, Holocaust survivor Eva Ehrlich attends Adas Israel Congregation rite for Holocaust victims. By John McDonnell-The Washington Post