Northrop event commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day

Approximately 50 people on Northrop Plaza listened to stories about the Holocaust.

Elizabeth Cook

Students, faculty and community members gathered Thursday in front of Northrop Auditorium to remember the Holocaust.

Approximately 50 people listened to stories about the Holocaust. Some people strained to listen through the wind that whipped across the mall.

Thursday marked the Yom HaShoah commemoration, an annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The commemoration included a lighting ceremony for survivors, prayers and guest speaker and Holocaust survivor Robert Fisch.

Elana Sondel, a University student and president of Hillel, the Jewish student center at the University, organized the event. The purpose of this event was to encourage students of all nationalities to remember the events that took place, she said. The other purpose was to warn others something like the Holocaust could happen again.

“There aren’t that many survivors left today,” Sondel said. “It’s now our responsibility to make sure our peers remember it and the stories and victims are not forgotten.”

Sondel said the ceremony explores the negative powers of hate and the actions that arise from it.

The Israeli Parliament established the day of Yom HaShoah to remember approximately 6 million Jewish people who died between 1938-45.

The commemoration started April 12, 1951, in Israel, said Stephen Feinstein, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies’ program director.

In Israel, there is a two-minute siren on the morning of Yom HaShoah. Everyone stands up and stands still; every person becomes his or her own memorial, he said.

Feinstein said he feels this is an important event for Jewish students to attend because it reminds people where they came from.

“You’re part of a community,” he said. “Think back about where you came from and where your roots are.”

This commemoration is also part of mourning.

“If it happened once, it can happen again. It’s like a bad fairytale,” Feinstein said.

Becky Saltzman, a University senior, has been participating in the commemoration since her first year at the University.

“I think it’s important for everyone to know the message and the history of the event,” she said.

Jeff Abbott, a University student, said he heard about the event through Sondel in a biblical Hebrew class.

“I figured I’d come and support. I enjoyed it very much,” Abbott said. “The reciting of the experiences was very nice.”