Chicago Holocaust survivors meet regularly to share common history

CHICAGO (CBS) – Dozens of Holocaust survivors gathered on Friday to celebrate community and a common history in Rogers Park at a special Shabbat lunch.

On this International Women's Day, CBS 2 wanted to introduce one of those inspiring women.

Everyone who shared a table in the room, shared much more. Diana Cherikover shared her passion for music and community.

"It's a pleasure to meet new people," Cherikover said.

The women at the Jewish community center in Rogers Park could relate.

"We can talk about things that we have been through," she said.

Cherikover was one of 70 Holocaust survivors at the lunch. They were connected through Holocaust Community Services, a program of the Jewish United Fund.

"We are all like equal," she said. "We have so much in common."

The group of survivors meets four times a year, but Friday's meeting just happened to fall on International Women's Day. It was the perfect day for Cherikover to reflect on the woman who taught her resilience.

"My mom, to me, was a hero because she dedicated her life to us," Cherikover said. "My father was killed by the Nazis in 1941."

The family fled Kiev for Siberia. Cherikover's mother, Dora, worked to support three kids.

"She said, 'Without education, you are nobody,'" Cherikover said of her mother. "So she pushed us."

And Cherikover listened.

"I have three diplomas and tons of certificates," she said.

Decades later, she can share a table in Chicago with women who share her history.

"We share our past. We share our present, and we know the future is not that much ahead of us, but we enjoy being together," she said.

During the quarterly meet-ups, the group also celebrates birthdays. On Friday, they celebrated one Holocaust survivor who turned 100 years old.

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