Fort McCoy observes Holocaust Remembrance Day
April 25, 2013
FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day that has been set aside to remind Americans what can happen to civilized people when bigotry, hatred and indifference reign, said Darryle Clott.
Clott, who teaches the History of the Holocaust course at Viterbo University, was the guest speaker during Fort McCoy's Holocaust Days of Remembrance observance, held April 8.
Clott, who comes from a military Family, said she was very pleased to be at Fort McCoy and delivered an emotional 'thank you' to the military attendees.
"It's what you do every day that will ensure that we don't have more genocide."
The U.S. Congress established Days of Remembrance as the nation's annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., as a permanent living memorial, Clott said.
Clott said, "We must remember those lives that were lost forever and those lives that were altered forever."
The theme for this year's Holocaust Days of Remembrance was "Never Again: Heeding the Warning Signs."
Clott said remembrance obligates people to not only focus on memorializing those who were killed but to reflect on what could have been done to save them.
The Holocaust might not have occurred if governments and leaders had spoken up during the Third Reich's rise to power, Clott said.
More people could have been saved if more individuals had raised their voices and forced governments to act.
"Our choices and responses to hatred do matter, and together we can help to build the promise of 'never again,'" Clott said. "Indifference to genocide cannot be tolerated."
Although Clott is not Jewish, she said she teaches about the Holocaust because she uses its lessons to make people aware of the importance of accepting other people's differences.
"I want people to examine their hearts and souls and decide how they will treat people," she said. "I hope one day we can move from a place of tolerance to a place of acceptance."
Clott shared the stories of Gerda Weissmann Klein, a Holocaust survivor; Mary Rostad, a member of the Belgian Resistance and French Underground; and Immaculée Ilibagiza, a survivor of Rwandan genocide.
Klein's book, "All But My Life," is Clott's favorite survivor memoir. She said Klein teaches people to be thankful for what they have rather than complaining about what they do not have.
Rostad's book, "Squirrel is Alive: A Teenager in the Belgian Resistance and French Underground," tells her story of walking across Belgium and France delivering messages and small arms for the resistance movement.
Ilibagiza, who spent 91 days hiding in a small bathroom with seven other women during the Rwandan genocide, tells her story in the book, "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust."
Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott concluded the event.
"History is not abstract; it really happened and we are all connected to it," he said. "If we don't learn from history it (a Holocaust) could happen again."
Master Sgt. Matthew Fitzgibbons, the Garrison Equal Opportunity adviser, also gave a special thank you to Nancy Schaitel's kindergarten class from Lakeview Montessori School in Sparta for making paper candles for the event. The candles were used as a tribute of remembrance.
For more information about ethnic observances in the Fort McCoy community, call the Garrison Equal Opportunity adviser at 608-388-3246.