BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Today more than a hundred people gathered to see the unveiling of the Central Valley Holocaust Memorial at the Chabad of Bakersfield.

The Central Valley Holocaust Memorial took longer than a decade to bring to reality. Organizers say it’s the first of its kind in the region.

“The creation of this memorial was from the effort of the entire community,” Esther Schlanger, the director of Chabad of Bakersfield, said. “The building and the collecting was created by many of the people here.”

The memorial has six large transparent containers filled to the brim with buttons. Each button symbolic of a Jewish life lost during the Holocaust.

“When you see the amount of buttons that were collected it really shows the magnitude of the number six million people, individuals,” Schlanger said. “Just like the buttons that are all varied in size, shape and color those those were the victims like people like you and me. They were mothers, fathers, babies, brothers, and sisters.”

Chabad of Bakersfield had a special speaker for the event: a 100-year-old Holocaust survivor.

“As Dr. Mengele moved further down I ran back to the other side,” Joe Alexander said. “If I didn’t run back to the other side I wouldn’t be here talking to you. The people on the left were put on trucks and went straight to the gas chamber.”

Visitors and organizers all shared the same message to the community: “Don’t let history repeat itself.”

“Never forget what happened and teach children to understand and learn how tyranny is not acceptable in these days,” Anthony Bray, a visitor at the memorial, said.

The memorial will be open to the public on Sundays and Mondays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. It’s free to the public but donations will be accepted. Chabad of Bakersfield is located at 6901 Ming Ave. in Southwest Bakersfield.