On Tuesday, April 18, members of Concord Indivisible and its allies will participate in a nationwide effort to honor victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution by holding a Days of Remembrance vigil at Concord’s Monument Square from 5 to 6 p.m. The event coincides with the annual Holocaust commemoration that was established by Congress and is led by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
“As incidents of hatred toward Jewish people surges nationwide, Massachusetts is not immune,” says Anita Saville, a member of Concord Indivisible’s Steering Committee.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) cataloged 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the U.S. last year — a 36 percent rise from 2021 and the highest number since the ADL began tracking such cases in 1979. It is also the third time in five years that the year-end total broke previous records. In Massachusetts, the total number of antisemitic incidents rocketed from 108 in 2021 to 152 last year – with harassment up 38 percent, vandalism up 41 percent, and assault up 100 percent.
The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims — with six million murdered. Roma and Sinti persons (Gypsies), people with mental and physical disabilities, and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more – including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents – also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi Germany.
“Through our Holocaust Remembrance Day vigil, Concord Indivisible seeks both to remind our community of this tragic history and to reflect on the lessons it holds for our lives today,” Saville notes. “We also pay tribute to the rescuers who risked their lives to save others during the Holocaust and to the American soldiers who liberated the concentration camps.”
“It’s not enough to curse the darkness of the past. We have to illuminate the future,” explains Estelle Laughlin, a Holocaust survivor who volunteers with the Holocaust Memorial Museum. “On Days of Remembrance the most important thing to remember is the humanity that is in all of us to leave the world better for our children and for posterity.”
Click here for more information about the event. To learn more about Days of Remembrance, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website at https://www.ushmm.org/remember/days-of-remembrance.