CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston Jewish Federation hosted Charleston’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony in Marion Square to honor Holocaust victims, survivors and liberators.
The Charleston community is honoring families impacted by the Holocaust by turning memory to strength.
“In 1941,” Reggie Guigui, co-chair of the Charleston Jewish Federation’s REMEMBER Program, said, “there was no one to stand up to hate. But today, we can turn memory to strength and learn from the lessons of the past. We must stand up to hate and injustice where ever we see it.”
The Charleston Jewish Federation says remembering the horrors of the Holocaust are important so it never happens again.
“The responsibility is now solely with us,” Guigui said. “The children and grandchildren of survivors, alongside our neighbors of other backgrounds, to ensure that never again truly, truly means never again.”
The names of people who died in the Holocaust, whose family now lives in the Lowcountry, were acknowledged. Six candles were lit during a vigil for Holocaust survivors, children of survivors, men and women who freed survivors, educators and those who lost their lives that were not Jewish.
“We affirm that an attack on any community targeted by hate,” Representative Wendell Gilliard said, “is an attack on all of us.”
A seventh candle was lit by Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.
“The candle I will be lighting is on behalf of the entire Charleston community,” Tecklenburg said, “who commits to making sure the Holocaust is never forgotten.”
Members of the Charleston Jewish Federation say they are determined to not let their ancestors die a second death by being forgotten.
“If we don’t have memorials,” David Popowski, a son to Holocaust survivors, said, “and museums and books and serious, dramatic television shows and movies and conferences, and even theatre, the Holocaust will fade away and become just another academic subject.”
Organizers say there are only 50,000 Holocaust survivors left in the U.S., and it’s important to host events like this to continue honoring their legacy.