On Jan. 26 in Robinson Circle at 5 p.m. the Rowan Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (RCHGHR) held its annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day Event in collaboration with other student organizations. The event marks the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet forces on Jan. 27, 1945, as well as the Congressionally established day for the Holocaust memorial.
Student groups involved provided coffee and donuts to those in attendance. 6abc Action News was on site covering the event as well.
“These people will never and should not be forgotten in any way, shape or form. It is very much a tragedy, even 78 years later we’re still coming out to remember these people… And it should be an awe-inspiring event that people come out to represent the Rowan Jewish community as well,” said Kevin Jenner, Hillel’s social media chair.
The event was led by Professor Jody Russell Manning, who teaches Modern European History with a focus on Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Memory and Memorials. RCHGHR has been holding the event every January since 2017 with cosponsors Hillel and Chabad, among others.
“It’s been a great event… It’s really great for students and a sense of community… But it’s very important that we remember this and makes sure that we commemorate this important event,” said Manning.
Students gathered around the circle with lit candles for the vigil in memory of the victims. Manning then gave an introductory speech where he went over the history of RCHGHR’s events and the importance of holding them every year, as well as information on the Holocaust.
“Most of the Jewish students on campus are only two or three generations removed from never meeting family that they have, including myself. Visiting memorials and camps, I found family that I knew a name on a family tree but never where they were from or who they were, and this is a chance for us to commemorate this” said Marc Fleischner, advisor for Hillel.
Fleischner also made note that events for the commemoration of the Holocaust should not only remember the Jewish victims of the Nazis but should also acknowledge the many other groups that were targeted, including the Romani people, the mentally ill and disabled, queer communities, people of color and anyone who was considered a political dissident.
Several of the attendees, many of them students in Holocaust and genocide classes, read stories and testimonies of survivors and victims of the Holocaust.
The Jewish prayer of mourning, the Kaddish, was announced by Fleischner as attendees read along on provided handouts.
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