Partnership with AEPi Fraternity Vital to Ensuring Holocaust Remembrance
B’nai B’rith International is observing Holocaust Remembrance Day with its annual program “Unto Every Person There is a Name,” now in its 24th year. B’nai B’rith is the official North American sponsor of the program created by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Participants name the victims of the Shoah and where and when they were born and died. The ceremonies occur on the 27th day of the month of Nissan on the Jewish calendar. These observances honor more victims each year, as the project collects more names.
Yad Vashem’s—Israel’s official Holocaust museum and research center—suggested theme for this year’s Yom Hashoah is “Defiance and Rebellion during the Holocaust: 70 Years since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.” Throughout the week of April 8, B’nai B’rith groups and committees will hold programs across North America that include speakers and readings in synagogues, Jewish community centers and public places such as Holocaust Memorials and community parks.
“It’s incredible to watch how ‘Unto Every Person There is a Name’ has grown since its inception in 1989,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “It is important that we never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust and individually recognize all those who perished.”
In addition to community observances, B’nai B’rith partners with the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity for “We Walk to Remember” on 110 college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom. Members of AEPi will participate in both the walk and “Unto Every Person There is a Name” programming.
Speaking from the Walk at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said, “I’m honored to take part in ‘We Walk to Remember.’ B’nai B’rith has a great partnership with AEPi and we’re wholly behind its efforts to make sure the Holocaust is never forgotten by today’s youth.”
This is the 5th year B’nai B’rith and AEPi have worked together on Holocaust Remembrance Day programming. The combination of the two powerful programs has created a lasting impact on campuses across the globe. It demonstrates that young people on campus understand the importance of remembering and have taken on the responsibility to tell the story of the victims of the Holocaust.
“‘We Walk to Remember’ is a program that quintessentially represents what it means to be in Alpha Epsilon Pi,” said AEPi Howard M. Lorber Director of Jewish and Philanthropy Programming Adam Maslia. “Stepping up as leaders in the Jewish community in partnership with B'nai B'rith International, the brothers of AEPi have crafted the world's largest on-campus Holocaust commemoration event that is so simple, yet so impactful and effective in ensuring that the world never forgets the atrocities of the Shoah."
On the morning of April 8, the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) held a unique joint Holocaust commemoration ceremony dedicated to the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust. Taking place at the Martyr’s Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza with about 900 people in attendance, 29 Rescuers Citations were awarded to Jews who employed subterfuge, forgery, smuggling, concealment and other methods to ensure that some Jews survived the Holocaust in Europe or assisted them in escaping to a safe haven.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith mourns the loss of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died April 8 at the age of 87.
Thatcher was a leading and reliable voice supporting free emigration for Soviet Jews. She spoke forcefully on behalf of Jews prevented from leaving the Soviet Union and demanded that restrictions be lifted.
Thatcher served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990—the only woman to ever hold the post.
B'nai B'rith joins the British people in mourning her loss.
Ceremony dedicated to commemorating the efforts of rescuer Otto Komoly, president of the Zionist Federation in Hungary during the Holocaust
28 additional rescuers to receive “Jewish Rescuers Citation”
The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) will hold a unique joint Holocaust commemoration ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day/Yom HaShoah (April 8). The ceremony is the only one dedicated annually to commemorating the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust. Some 200 Border Patrol Cadets—who will provide an honor guard—and 200 high school students will participate along with Jewish rescuers and survivors. The ceremony will take place at the Martyr’s Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza at 10:00 a.m.
This year’s event—the 11th annual ceremony—will memorialize the rescue activities of Otto Komoly, president of the Zionist Federation in Hungary during the Holocaust, chairman of the Hungarian Jewish community’s clandestine Rescue Committee and later also director of the International Red Cross “Department A” responsible for rescuing Jewish children. Komoly oversaw the rescue of 5,000 Jewish children through the establishment of 52 shelters that were staffed by members of the Zionist Youth Movement and protected by Red Cross sponsorship. He also supported the legal—and later the clandestine—escape of Jews from Hungary to Palestine via Romania through which an estimated 15,000 Jews were saved. Komoly was the Jewish community’s principle interlocutor with Hungarian leaders and with the neutral foreign entities that operated in Budapest. On Jan. 1, 1945—barely two weeks before the liberation of Pest by the Red Army— Komoly was kidnapped from his Red Cross offices by members of the Arrow Cross regime and never heard from again. He is assumed to have been murdered, along with thousands of other Jews, on the banks of the Danube.
At the ceremony Otto Komoly will be represented by his granddaughter Orna Barnea. Outgoing Minister of Science and Technology Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz and Hungarian Ambassador Zoltán Szentgyörgyi will attend. Also speaking: KKL-JNF Chairman Effi Stenzler and B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Haim V. Katz.
Prior to the ceremony, a “Jewish Rescuers Citation” will be conferred by the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust (JRJ) and the B’nai B’rith World Center on 28 additional rescuers who operated in the underground Zionist Youth Movement in Hungary. Forty citations have been presented since the citation’s establishment in 2011 to rescuers who operated in France, Germany, Holland and Hungary.
The event will be held at the Martyr's Forest—a joint KKL-JNF-B’nai B’rith project which memorializes the victims of the Holocaust in six million trees planted in the picturesque Jerusalem Mountains near Moshav Kisalon. At the pinnacle of the forest stands the “Scroll of Fire” by the renowned sculptor Nathan Rapoport, which invokes the destruction of the Jewish people in the Holocaust and their establishment in the State of Israel in a moving base relief. The event will commence with personal testimonies by Holocaust survivors and classes of soldiers.
The phenomena of Jewish rescue and the instructive stories of thousands of Jews who labored to save their endangered brethren throughout Europe are yet to receive appropriate public recognition and resonance. Many who could have tried to flee chose to stay and rescue others; some paid for it with their lives. With great heroism, Jews in every country in occupied Europe employed subterfuge, forgery, smuggling, concealment and other methods to ensure that some Jews survived the Holocaust in Europe or assisted them in escaping to a safe haven. The few rescuers who are still alive have often been reluctant to recount their stories, satisfied in the knowledge that they were able to overcome the Nazis and their collaborators.
Considering the fact that many of the rescuers were young at the time of their activity, the organizers of the ceremony view it as especially important to expose Jewish youth to the phenomena of Jewish rescue during the Holocaust as a model for Jewish solidarity and courage.
For further details please contact Golan Yossifon 052-5625135