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For Better Future, Understand the Past

Olga Rozenberg. Aron Rozenberg. Pinkhas Rozenberg. Llova Rozenberg, Klara Grinberg, Shulom Litvak. Sadly, these are a few of the names of those killed in the Holocaust and read of as part of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington’s Holocaust Observance Day Memorial event on Sunday, May 1, also known as Yom HaShoah, the “Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and the Heroism."

The actual date of Yom HaShoah is a week after Passover and marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprisings, and this year will occur from Wednesday night into Thursday, May 4-5.

These specific individuals were from the USSR and killed in Odessa, Ukraine in 1941.

As an elected official representing our Mount Vernon-Lee community I was invited to participate this past Sunday. The invitation to join this important commemoration at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCCNV) to remember, and to never forget, the victims of the Holocaust was an honor, and reading the names moved me very much. It also brought back memories of my visit to the Buchenwald concentration camp three years ago. A horrid place and important reminder of the unique heinousness of the Holocaust.

The names of 11 million Holocaust victims, six million Jews, with one and a half million of them being children, are recited at ceremonies around the world. As we recite their names, we remember them. Each individual human being is identified by name. For many on the list, it is the only time their name will be commemorated aloud. Their entire family may have been killed with them, or the surviving family members have since passed away. The depth of loss experienced in the Holocaust is hard to fathom, and listening to the names being read really brings it home.

In Israel, a siren will sound periodically, and wherever people are, they will pause and stand for a moment of silence. Even if they are driving in their cars, they will stop, get out and stand in observance of the 11 million Holocaust victims.

Take a moment on this day, during this week, to not only remember the millions of people murdered, that terrible genocide, but also to acknowledge the need for acceptance and tolerance of people of all religions and races in our country to prevent anything like the Holocaust from ever happening again.

We can shape a better future with understanding of our past.

You can reach my office at delpkrizek@house.virginia.gov.