They came to remember. For the 16th consecutive year, Alexandrians gathered at Market Square for a Day of Remembrance, so that “we never forget what one human being can allow to happen to another.”
The service was part of the National Days of Remembrance, designated as the week of April 27-May 4. Mayor Kerry J. Donley gave the annual proclamation to Charlene Schiff, a survivor of the Holocaust, who spoke.
When Schiff went back to visit the home that was taken from her, she asked the people of the town why they had stood by and done nothing while her family was murdered. “If only we had known, we would have done something, they told me,” she said. “They knew and did nothing.”
THROUGHOUT THE world, people stopped to remember the six million Jews, homosexuals, persons with disabilities and persons of color that Hitler ordered to be exterminated during World War II. “And yet, Sept. 11 reminded us that terror is not eradicable,” said Sarah Bloomfield, representing the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Councilman David Speck, too, was mindful of Bloomfield’s point when he spoke. “For the past 16 years, we have come together to remember the Holocaust,” he said. “And for every day of those 16 years and every hour of those 16 years, there has been another – perhaps not as big – but, nonetheless, another. … Soon, there will be no Charlene Schiff and no Ruth Griefer, we hope not too soon, to stand here and tell us of what they saw and what happened. And when that happens, we must ensure that our young people understand and remember.”
TWO OF THOSE young people, Sam Abramson and Max Moline, both 12, shared their reflections on the Holocaust. Max compared the Holocaust to the enslavement of the Hebrew people in Egypt and pharaoh to Hitler. Sam spoke of reading Daniel’s Story, the story of a young boy who, despite great risk, photographed life and death at Buchenwald.
There was music of remembrance, the lighting of candles in remembrance, and prayers.
“I hope that Alexandrians will gather next year to remember and for generations to come after that,” Donley said. “For only by remembering can we hope to prevent this from ever happening again.”