Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. While many countries have their own Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27th is a day for the entire world to take pause and honor the memories of those who perished, learn from those who have shared their stories of survival, and reflect on how we can ensure such an atrocity never happens again.
Today also serves as a stark reminder that antisemitism is still very much alive and well, and fighting it is an incredibly important part of our work as an organization locally, nationally, and around the world.
I received an email today from Mark Wilf, chair of Jewish Federations of North America’s Board of Trustees. Mark speaks about his passion for the work of Federations and their partnering agencies around the country and throughout the world.
“As the son and grandson of Holocaust survivors who instilled in me the critical importance of Jewish community and continuity, I am strongly committed to the cause of Holocaust education. I’m proud of the advocacy work of Federations across North America — including a grassroots effort by Holocaust survivors themselves — on behalf of the Never Again Education Act, which was signed into law in May 2020. This legislation will help ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are taught for generations to come.
My special passion, though, is for remembering and caring for those survivors who are still among us. Our communities, locally and globally, work hard to ensure that Holocaust survivors receive the care they need. JFNA’s Center on Aging and Trauma, a project of our Holocaust Survivor Initiative, has served over 15,000 survivors and provided nearly 150 grants to agencies around the U.S. to develop innovations in person-centered, trauma-informed care. Through our international partners The Jewish Agency for Israel and JDC, we provide services to tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors in Israel and the former Soviet Union.”
Our community is incredibly fortunate to have the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center, led by Renate Frydman, as a source of information and education. One of the most invaluable projects they have produced are interviews with Holocaust survivors and liberators, which you can click here to view.
Stories from the Holocaust are so much more than words on a page. These are real experiences, real people. They are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, extended family, and friends. When we hear their stories of perseverance, of heartache ~ of HOPE ~ we are gifted with an invaluable tool to help us continue to fight hate now and for future generations.
On this day of remembrance, I would like to leave you with you a heartwarming story of one of our local community members, Ira Segalewitz. Ira recently reconnected with a friend he met as a child at a DP camp. You may have read the story in The Dayton Jewish Observer. This morning, the story was featured on the Today show. The story serves as a reminder that even in the darkness, there is light. As one of the interview participants said, “Where there is life, there is hope.”
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