This week marks the annual commemoration of the Days of Remembrance of the six million souls who perished in the Holocaust. Having lost twenty-five members of my own family in the Holocaust, it was my privilege to participate in two events honoring those who were lost.
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak to students and faculty at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, as part of its “Holocaust Remembrance Day.” It was a wonderful event sponsored by the Asbell Center for Jewish Life. The following day, students read the names of Holocaust victims, taking ten-minute turns, for twelve hours. This beautiful liberal arts college, led by its President, Dr. William Durden, is keeping alive the memory of those lost and teaching young people to reject hate and discrimination in all forms. I am indebted to them for including me in their commemoration.
Today, I had the privilege of attending the National Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance in the U. S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington. The ceremonies began with the presentation of the flags of units of the 3rd U.S. Infantry which liberated concentration camps at the end of WWII. After speeches by various dignitaries, the most moving moments came when Holocaust survivors, in pairs and accompanied by Senators and Congressmen, lit memorial candles honoring those who perished. President Obama sent a message which ended with “…let us foster a culture of empathy as we remain vigilant against genocide in our time.”