SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii-- The 500th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater held the 2019 Days of Remembrance observance to honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust at Sergeant Smith Theater, Schofield Barracks, April 25.
The U.S. Congress established Days of Remembrance as the nation's annual commemoration of the Holocaust.
During the observance, a group of Soldiers from the 500th MIB-T and children held candles during the candle-lighting ceremony as the Shoa names were read. 500th MIB-T leaders lit six candles in honor of six million Jews. The lights were dimmed in the theater as the audience stood for a moment of silence in remembrance of the men, women and children who perished and those who survived.
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
"The stories of the Holocaust were many," said Seymour Kazimirski, a first generation Holocaust survivor and guest speaker. "What my mother saw, she wrote about in her book. My mother, a Holocaust survivor devoted her life to make others understand the Holocaust and the terrible darkness of that time. So now, it is my turn to light the flame of knowledge and to help make positive changes to improve our world."
The theme this year is, Beyond Religious Boundaries: Learning from the Holocaust.
In a moving original poem read by Capt. Rebecca S. Jackson, command judge advocate, 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support), Jackson shared her personal experiences of what it was like in that moment in time.
Jews were the primary victims of Nazi racism, but other victims included Roma (Gypsies) and people with mental or physical disabilities.
"I don't care what religion you are, what ethnicity you are… today we are brothers and sisters holding hands [and] remembering the victims of the greatest crime of man against man," said Kazimirski.
"My mother's strength and her story drives me to tell her story over and over again," Kaimirski added. "What we are doing her today will make you realized how important the lessons of history [and] the lessons of the past will be for you, for your children [and] for the people that you lead."
Thousands of people across the nation and around the world will gather together with solemn ceremonies and observance to honor the victims and survivors who endured the unimaginable.
"Every Equal Opportunity observance is special," said Col. David P. Elsen, commander, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater. "I think this one was particularly powerful and it really makes you think about the human condition. This is not [only] about anti-Semitism, it's about anti-human…one group against another."
Elsen continued on to stress the importance of Equal Opportunity in the Army and how mistreating others that are different from yourselves is absolutely against the Army Values and what we stand for.
"And that's why equal opportunity is important in the Army," said Elsen. "It gets down to dignity and respect of every human being, treating others with dignity and respect regardless of their national origin, background, and so on. And that's what we need to train and teach our Soldiers and our children."