March of Remembrance College Station Announces Event Honoring Holocaust Survivors – from Holocaust to New Life

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More than seventy years after the founding of the State of Israel, Holocaust survivors continue to bear witness, not only of the atrocities suffered at the hands of the Nazis, but also of what happens when good people remain silent. The burden of speaking out in the face of persecution, prejudice, and indifference is now being passed to the younger generations, including Nazi descendants.

“Each time both the survivors and the descendants of Nazis share their stories. It is a very emotional experience and sometimes not easy but new friendships are always formed,” Claudia Kiesinger, Nazi descendant and US March coordinator

NOTE: News media planning to attend must contact Rozalie Jerome, media coordinator for the event, at 832-287-5057 by noon Friday, April 5.

On Sunday, April 7, people of all ages, backgrounds and faiths will gather at the main entrance of the Reed Arena at Texas A&M University for the March of Remembrance, (originally called the March of Life outside the U.S.) an event which will be repeated all over the globe this season to commemorate Genocide and Holocaust Awareness month and Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The purpose of the march is to educate a generation that is often unaware of the reality of the horrors of The Holocaust — not only of the facts of what happened during that time, but also of the attitudes and incendiary propaganda that preceded it, which conditioned a nation of people to stand by and be silent while the atrocities were being committed. We remember — not only those who were lost in the Holocaust, but also those who fought for freedom; the upstanders who risked their lives for the victims; the soldiers who fought and sacrificed in World War II; and the leaders who spoke out.

Respondents to a recent study conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany indicated that lack of knowledge is a real threat to the future: Fifty-eight percent said they believe something like The Holocaust could happen again. For the pre-event on April 7, enactors from the 139th Field Hospital Living Historians will represent individuals from the Women’s Army Corps and Nurse Corps, Camp Liberators, Chaplains, Resistance, and a presentation by acclaimed impersonator and author, Denny Hair as General George C. Patton.

In a symbolic appeal to God for His intervention, shofars will be blown at 2:00 p.m.; an array of distinguished speakers will participate in the opening service that follows. Steve Finkelman, President of Texas Hillel, and a Levite, will pronounce the initial Aaronic blessing. Texas Holocaust & Genocide Commission Chair Lynne Aronoff, U.S. Representative Bill Flores, and College Station Mayor Karl Mooney will speak to set the stage for official statements by Central Baptist Pastor Chris Osborne, TAMU Student Body President Amy Sharp, and TAMU CUFI President Kaitlyn Dillingham.
Deputy Consul of Israel Omer Chechek-Katz will introduce local Holocaust survivor Ruth Steinfeld, who will share her personal account as a Child Holocaust Survivor. In addition, Pastor Stefan Haas and former Neo-Nazi Samuel Haas, father and son repentant Nazi descendants, are traveling from Germany, where the March of Life movement began. Deputy Consul of Germany Michael Ott will introduce them both.

A recent poll found that nearly one third of all Americans (31 percent) and more than 4-in-10 Millennials (41 percent) believe that substantially less than 6 million Jews were killed (two million or fewer) during the Holocaust, and two thirds of American millennials surveyed cannot identify what Auschwitz is, underlining the critical need for education in our schools. Risa Bierman, executive director of TAMU Hillel, will explain the significance of stones in Jewish memorials, and Dr. Clifford Spiegelman, TAMU professor and official statistician for the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, will discuss the death marches supervised by the Nazis at the end of the war.

TAMU Chancellor John Sharp will then share his personal remarks on the lessons of the Holocaust before blessings of the memorial walk are pronounced by Pastor Chris Osborne and Rabbi Peter Tarlow, Ph.D., former president of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission and Rabbi Emeritus of Texas A&M Hillel. The shofars will blow to close the service before David Lawhon, former A&M professor and descendant of a camp Liberator, dismisses the troops for the memorial walk. Members of the Corps of Cadets will assist with the two mile memorial walk on the TAMU campus.

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