Nazi Holocaust remembered at Presidio event
April 26, 2010
- "What You Do Matters" is this year's Days of Remembrance theme
- "Not all victims were Jewish . . ."
- Congress voted to establish the annual observance
- The Holocaust Museum sponsors Days of Remembrance events nationwide
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. Aca,!" Days of Remembrance of the European Holocaust, perpetrated by Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, was observed at the Presidio of Monterey in an afternoon event at the Tin Barn auditorium on April 21. Sponsored by the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, the observance brought to the attention of an audience of predominantly DLIFLC students the national Days of Remembrance theme, Aca,!A"What You Do Matters.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"It was state-sponsored genocide,Aca,!A? said guest speaker Avner Even-Zohar, Chairman of the DLIFLC Hebrew Department, in describing the era of Nazi terror in which 11 million victims perished. He said British statesman and historian Sir Winston Churchill viewed it as Aca,!A"the greatest crime ever committed in the history of the world.Aca,!A?
Even-Zohar said that in addition to Jews, the Nazi regime targeted Slavs, Poles, Serbs, Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, members of the JehovahAca,!a,,cs Witnesses, homosexuals and the physically disabled.
Aca,!A"Not all victims were Jewish, but all Jews were victims,Aca,!A? he said. He noted that Aca,!A"the final solutionAca,!A? is the name Nazis gave to the extermination of the Jewish people.
Aca,!A"They defined the Jews as a race,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"Jews were considered a virus, a disease. It was illegal to be Jewish in Nazi Germany and if you were Jewish your only fate was the gas chamber.Aca,!A?
In a long history of oppression suffered by Jews, he said, the Holocaust experience was without parallel.
Aca,!A"There was no way out,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"This is unique. Even during the Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834) Jews could save themselves by converting to Christianity. To Jews the Nazis said you may not live among us. Then they said you may not live altogether. This was not a group of militants who were killing some Jews in eastern Europe. This was the law.Aca,!A?
Even-Zohar said Nazis also introduced Aca,!A"the industrialization of the extermination processAca,!A? by constructing mass execution chambers and ovens to dispose of victimsAca,!a,,c bodies.
Aca,!A"They built a chain of concentration camps and extermination camps across Europe,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"Efficiency was the keyword. That is unique in world history.Aca,!A?
The Presidio program included an account by Army Capt. Clinton Mead of his travels in Israel. Capt. Brendan McAlary, Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, gave the programAca,!a,,cs opening remarks. Deputy DLIFLC Commandant Col. William Bare made closing remarks and presented commemorative awards to program participants. Chaplain (Army Maj.) Marvin Santos offered an invocation and Rabbi David Holzberg led a closing prayer recited first in Hebrew, then in English.
The program concluded with a video documentary of a talk by Holocaust survivor Fanny Aizenberg at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in January 2009.
The annual Days of Remembrance commemoration was established by Congress in 1982. The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., was established by the same legislation. By Congressional mandate the museumAca,!a,,cs directors determine the theme for Days of Remembrance celebrations and sponsor observances throughout the United States by state and local governments, military installations, workplaces, schools, churches, synagogues and civic centers.