By Pete Smith
“Absolutely, the wounds of the Holocaust are still felt on a very personal basis,” said Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow of Carmel’s Congregation Shaarey Tefilla.
And it’s for that reason that Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard originally organized a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony to honor the six million victims of Nazi Germany during its persecution and genocide of European Jews in the 1940s.
And the event has drawn such large crowds that this year’s May 2 ceremony was moved from the traditional location in the city hall council chambers to the Tarkington Theater in the Center for the Performing Arts.
It plays an important role in Carmel’s Jewish community, which contains holocaust survivors and many people of the second generation – people whose parents were in the Nazi camps.
But Sendrow said it’s an event that’s designed to be non-exclusive and community oriented. And while he said he thinks such a tragedy couldn’t happen in America, the Holocaust showed that we are all in a fragile state of existence.
“It shows that we are all vulnerable as human beings, and we have a duty to protect one another,” Sendrow said, noting that might be the most important message that attendees of the event come away with – an obligation for decent people to stand united against the indecent.
But there is also the duty to remember as an obligation to the victims.
“To forget what they went through, to forget their struggle would almost be like killing them a second time,” Sendrow said, referencing a famous line from author Elie Wiesel.
And victims’ reactions can vary widely he said. Some talk openly about the Holocaust; some never mention it.
Understandably there is little healing to be had from such an atrocity. Sendrow said the only measure of healing that victims seem to experience is when children are born into those families.
It’s a reminder that Jews, as a people, survived.
The Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony will include a keynote address by Phil Lande, a second generation survivor. Lande’s father, Alexander Lande, was the sole survivor of his family, which lived in Transylvania in Romania.
Alexander Lande was in Auschwitz, then sent to a work camp and finally to Dachau where he escaped with the help of a German soldier.
In addition, Rabbi Sendrow will act as master of ceremonies, and Rabbi Stanley Halpern of Congregation Beth Shalom in Carmel will lead the Mourner’s Kaddish.
The program will also provide a musical performance by soprano Arnie Lewin, Shaarey Tefilla member and Cantor. Carmel United Methodist Church Bell Choir will perform as well as the University High School choir.
Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony ● noon to 2 p.m. May 2 ● Tarkington Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts ● For more information call 571-2494