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RC Hillel Hosts Holocaust Memorial Service

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IMG_20140408_114402311On Tuesday, April 8th RC Hillel hosted a Holocaust Memorial Service in memory of everyone who suffered during the tragic events of World War Two. In commons during lunchtime, white roses were handed out in memory of those who had died. The evening service that began at five opened with the speaker making his way to the podium; the extreme silence in the room causing his footsteps to echo on the stone floor of Antrim Chapel. The opening speech began by introducing The White Rose Society. The original White Rose society was a group at the University of Munich who began by protesting the Holocaust and eventually became martyrs. Groups of the same name now host the memorial service every year in different colleges.

The opening continued by giving some background to the Holocaust, a word which came from the Greek and means ‘sacrifice by fire.’ During that time, twelve million were murdered, half of those and the largest ethnic group was the Jewish people. After describing some of the horrors of the Holocaust, the speaker said, “Twelve million died in the Holocaust, but who were they? Where did they come from? And how can we, decades later, look back and honor their memory?”

Twelve candles were lit, and twelve volunteers read lines commemorating those who died. They spoke out about the Jews and their destroyed history and the horrors they were forced to face in forced labor and concentration camps. However, there were many others who were persecuted. The gypsies of Europe, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, real and supposed “enemies of the state,” and anyone considered asocial or mentally disabled were all faced with similar tragedy. Although the war ended in 1945, many still face some of the effects today. What we were called to do at the service was to remember. As written in the handout, there are museums and memorials and through these remembrances we honor all those who died. The service closed with the Mourner’s Kaddish Prayer recited in Hebrew.