By Emily Jennings, USAG Wiesbaden Public AffairsMay 1, 2019
WIESBADEN, Germany - Garrison and local Jewish leaders gathered to honor the 6 million Jews and others who died in the Holocaust during a remembrance ceremony April 30 at the Clay Kaserne Chapel.
The event's speakers recounted the history of Jewish life in Wiesbaden and stressed the importance of never forgetting the atrocities committed during the Holocaust.
"Silence and indifference are unacceptable," said U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Commander Col. Noah Cloud at the start of the ceremony.
Antisemitism has found its way back onto the streets of Germany, said guest speaker Uwe Becker, Hessen State Commissioner for Jewish Life and the Fight Against Antisemitism.
"It's not the issue of the Jewish community, who are victims of antisemitism to fight singularly against it," he said. It's an issue of our whole society...."
Guest speaker Dr. Jacob Gutmark, chairman of the National Association of Jewish Communities Hessen, recounted the state of the Jewish community in Wiesbaden following the Holocaust.
"The U.S. Army marched into Wiesbaden at the end of 1945," he said. "Very few Jews who had survived hiding were eventually freed. Other Jews came from immigration to their hometown. The majority of survivors, as a matter of fact, did not return.
"Without the decisive help of the U.S. authorities, Jewish life couldn't have been initiated in such an impressive manner as this present day, neither in Wiesbaden nor elsewhere in Germany, nor, I must say, in Europe," Gutmark said.
Members of the local Jewish community lit six candles during the ceremony - one in commemoration of the 6 million Jews who were gassed, beaten to death or shot dead by the Nazis; one in commemoration of the 1.5 million children, who had no chance to live their childhoods in peace. Instead, they spent their childhood years behind barbed wire in the ghettos and concentration camps set up by the Nazis in Europe. Another candle was lit in commemoration of the ghetto fighters and partisans hiding in the woods, who tried to resist Nazi machinery; one in honor of the small minority of non-Jewish Europeans and for the Soldiers of the U.S. Army who risked or gave their own lives to save Jews from the Nazis; one in commemoration of the survivors of the Holocaust who endured emotional and physical torture; and a final candle in honor of the tireless visionaries and initiators of past centuries who made significant contributions.