An emotional and solemn day today in Jones Auditorium at Meredith College remembering the deceased of Jewish holocaust and the survivors who escaped the Nazi Germany barbarism in World War II.

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Families of the victims who were killed in the concentration camps with friends and elected officials attended today’s event. In addition, one member from the Rohingya community who is also part of Carolina Peace Center was invited to light the candle and later speak about the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar. Survivors from Auschwitz to Labor camps of Radom to Warsaw ghetto were among the special attendees who lit the memorial candles. Shelly Weiner spoke about how she and her cousin were hidden with their mothers for over two years in the farm of a Christian family. She was 6 years old at that time. Her grandfather and other members of her family were killed stripped naked standing by a large pit of mass graves shot point blank. Jack talked about his father’s family who were all killed by the Nazis except his father who survived. Few other survivors talked about their experience growing up in the shadow of the holocaust.

Throughout the event there was music from Schindler’s List to Song of the Partisans to silent meditation. Mourners’ Kaddish, a prayer in Aramaic was recited for the deceased in the end.

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The event was organized by North Carolina Council on the Holocaust and Temple Beth Or for the Internationally recognized day set aside remembering the victims of holocaust. In 2018 Holocaust Remembrance Day is Thursday, April 12.

I want to thank the council and the Temple to invite Abdullah, our refugee coordinator from Rohingya community to light the candle honoring and remembering the victims of Rohingya genocide and giving him the opportunity to talk about his experience in Myanmar and his journey to the US. During the Q&A Bosnian genocide and current hateful religious rhetoric in the US was also discussed and the fact that we all must resist ethnic and racial bigotry.

I have been carrying a heavy heart for few days due to what is happening in Syria and Gaza and today when I hugged Shelly Weiner, the Warsaw ghetto survivor, I felt an important and disturbing part of history has touched my soul. Shelly is a brave and wonderful lady in her 70s now. All the more reason to speak up against hate and stand up for justice.

A Day of Commemoration: North Carolina Holocaust Observance