EVANS, GA (WFXG) - The Augusta Jewish Community Center hosted community members at its annual program marking Holocaust Memorial Day Thursday, May 2. The event began at 6:45 p.m. at the Augusta Jewish Community Center located at 898 Weinberger Way in Evans. It aims to give a voice to the victims through dramatic readings, music, and a candle lighting ceremony.
The program commemorated the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust with six burning candles at the front center of the room. Among those in the crowd were children, grand children and great grand children of survivors. Miriam Katz, whose parents survived the Holocaust, said, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the Holocaust.”
The mission of the ceremony held deep meaning for Katz. “We have to remember so it doesn’t happen again. I don’t want my family members to have died in vain.” The Executive Director of the Augusta Jewish Federation, Daniel Chejfec, added, “The Holocaust makes sense only if we remember what happened, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Beyond only remembering the events of the Holocaust, the observance gave a message of hope. Chejfec said, “Even in the middle of that darkness, there was light.” “We give ourselves strength. We lean on each other,” Katz said. That strength is something that can resonate with everyone, Jewish or not. That’s why the entire community was invited to this event. Chejfec said, “The ceremony is pretty much a secular ceremony in honor of those who died, in honor of those who risked their lives to save others and in honor of those who don’t have a voice anymore.”
In the world of religious persecution and attacks that we live in today, he said events like this leave people with a renewed sense of solidarity. Chejfec said, “We are not going to be cowered into not doing anything, and we are not going to stand down.”