FORT NORFOLK, Va. -- Tea lights faintly illuminated names of the persecuted. Either unable or unwilling to look away, observers shuddered and gasped at the human horror as gaunt images stared back.
Like many locations around the world yesterday, the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers experienced the stillness of contemplation and reverence during its Holocaust Day of Remembrance observation here.
“These heroes are not far-off historical characters, but individuals who have lived among us,” said Jennifer O’Quinn, district equal employment opportunity manager. “They faced horrific conditions and survived. They share their stories in hope that evil, hatred and intolerance of the Holocaust will never happen again.”
Congress established Holocaust Days of Remembrance to observe the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and other persecuted groups at the hands of Nazi Germany.
“Our purpose in the Holocaust Commission is to help people understand the consequences that come from hatred, prejudice, discrimination, and how they can lead to unimaginable tragedies like the Holocaust,” said Vivian Margulies, Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. “We hope that you’ll speak up when you witness these things, even if others do not.”
This year, the Holocaust Days of Remembrance week runs from April 28 – May 5, 2019. Each year, the week runs from the Sunday before Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) through the following Sunday.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Holocaust occurred because individuals, organizations and governments made choices that legalized discrimination, allowed prejudice, hatred and ultimately mass murder.
The goal of the Department of Defense’s observation of Holocaust Memorial Day is to remember the atrocities of the Third Reich in hope that “Never Again” is a consciously and faithfully enforced promise.