In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the HWS community held a candlelight vigil on April 7.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges stood in solidarity with Jewish people around the world to observe Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. HWS Hillel and the Abbe Center for Jewish Life also held two events to honor lives lost and to reflect on the horrors of the genocide.
On the evening of April 7, HWS community members participated in a candlelight vigil on the steps of Coxe Hall. Attendees lit candles in memory of those killed during the Holocaust and shared their wishes for a brighter future.
The following day, the Reading of the Names took place in front of the Scandling Campus Center. An annual event held by HWS Hillel, the Reading of the Names is a continuous effort to make sure that the victims of the Holocaust are never forgotten. Volunteers read the victims’ names from noon to 3 p.m.
Director of the Abbe Center for Jewish Life Julianne Miller organized the events. She has participated in the Colleges’ The March: Bearing Witness to Hope program, a 10-day tour through Poland and Germany to study the Holocaust and collective guidance of Holocaust scholars, survivors and Israeli and Polish guides. The trip includes visits to Holocaust sites in Europe, including several concentration camps.
Miller says every year, she is struck by the commitment of Jewish and non Jewish community members alike who “give up their time to remember those who were killed. “The Holocaust and its effects is something we all have to grapple with,” she says. “We come together to remember in part because the act of remembering itself is sacred and meaningful – all of those who were killed, and those who survived horrors we can’t imagine – deserve to be remembered simply by virtue of their humanity, and we all have an obligation to remember because of our common humanity.”
Holocaust Remembrance Day has been honored on campus for more than 6 years. Miller says by actively learning and reflecting, the HWS community “emerges with a greater sense of how we want to engage in our communities, and a greater commitment to the values that are sacred to us. Looking around our world today, it is clear that we still need to remember where hatred and dehumanization can lead.”