OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
The Osan Air Base Chapel held a remembrance ceremony April 25, 2017, in honor of the victims of the Holocaust.
An estimated two out of every three Jews under Nazi-controlled areas were killed during the Holocaust; this equates to roughly 6 million men, women and children. During Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies, six candles are lit to honor these Jewish victims.
“Memorials help us remember, but even that begs the question, ‘Why do we need to remember the Holocaust?’,” said Chap. (Lt. Col.) Jeffery Granger, 51st Fighter Wing. “I thought of a number of answers to this question. We honor those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, but we also do not want to repeat the tragedies that occurred in the past.”
Each year, Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan, the first month on the Hebrew calendar. On April 19, 1943, while the German’s attempted a mass-deportation, armed Jewish fighters broke ranks and fought the Germans; this became known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
This year, April 24th marked the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
The Warsaw Uprising became the largest and most symbolically important uprising in Germany-occupied Europe. It further inspired other ghettos and killing centers to revolt as well. After a month of rebellion, the ghetto was in ruins; those who survived were deported to concentration and forced labor camps.
After the war, returning home was difficult, and many times impossible, for survivors. Jewish communities no longer existed in most of Europe, forcing them to seek homes elsewhere. Many sought shelter in displaced-person camps where they would later be admitted to countries such as the United States and South Africa.
“I was born in New York where I remember people emigrating from war-torn Europe,” said Larry Rosenberg, guest speaker and U.S. Army Veteran. “There was a kind of silence that followed them, as they were shell-shocked from their experiences. There was a part of their life you did not ask about. It was like asking a soldier if they shot anyone.”
Remembrance ceremonies are held internationally not only to remember the victims but to also pay tribute to survivors. Each year, in the U.S., state governments, workplaces, military instillations, religious organizations and civic centers host ceremonies and observances for their communities.