In remembrance of the atrocities of the Holocaust, B’nai B’rith International held numerous commemoration events around the globe in the days surrounding Yom HaShoah.
On April 13, the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem—in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund (JNF)—held a remembrance ceremony in memory of those who rescued fellow Jews from persecution in Europe during World War II. The ceremony took place at the Scroll of Fire Square located in the Martyrs' Forest, a joint B’nai B’rith-JNF project located in the Jerusalem Hills where 6 million trees were planted by B’nai B’rith in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Six hundred people participated in the ceremony including 250 junior high school students and 250 Border Patrol recruits.
Speakers at the event included Zevulun Orlev, chairman of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee; Edward Iosiper, Romanian ambassador to Israel; Alexander Czoban-Srael, a Holocaust survivor from Poland and a Palmach veteran; Haim Roet, a Holocaust survivor from Holland and chairman of the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jews who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust; Efi Stenzler, a Holocaust survivor from Hungary and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund world chairman; and B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Haim V. Katz.
B’nai B’rith Canada also held commemoration events in locations including Toronto, Montreal, and Winnipeg. In Toronto, the League for Human Rights of B’nai B’rith joined with the Law Society of Upper Canada to host a special forum on bringing war criminals to justice.
In addition to countless other events planned by B’nai B’rith International around the world, the organization is also the United States sponsor of the “Unto Every Person there is a Name” program developed by Yad Vashem. During the ceremony, which is held in numerous communities across America, participants read the names of victims of the Shoah, and where and when they were born and died.
On April 11, B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin participated in a Yom HaShoah community-wide memorial observance at B'nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, Md., co-sponsored by B'nai B'rith, the local Jewish Community Relations Council, and area Holocaust organizations. Prior to the formal ceremonies, Mariaschin and members of the B'nai B'rith Chesapeake Bay Region and the local community participated in the "Unto Every Person there is a Name" program, reading aloud the names of some of those lost during the Holocaust.
Ambassador of Israel to the United States Michael Oren spoke about how the Holocaust necessitated the State of Israel. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley also delivered greetings to the community. Also in attendance were El Salvadoran Ambassador Francisco Altschul; state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple; state Delegates Charniele Herring and David Englin; and representatives from the Chinese Embassy.
Also on April 11, in Alexandria, Va., at the Beth El Hebrew Congregation, B'nai B'rith International's Center for Human Rights and Public Policy Deputy Director Eric Fusfield joined members of the Chesapeake Bay Region and the local community in reading names. More than 15 of the many state legislators and foreign diplomats in attendance participated in reciting names.
Through its partnership with Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), the national Jewish fraternity, B’nai B’rith also held commemoration events on more than 70 university campuses across the nation. Along with the “Unto Every Person there is a Name” program, many participants also took part in the AEPi service, during which the brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi walked their respective campuses in silence, wearing signs that read “Never Forget” and handing out literature describing the meaning of this most solemn occasion.
B’nai B’rith sponsorship of the Unto Every Person there is a Name program through the Center for Jewish Identity is made possible by the generous support of Kurt and Tessye (of blessed memory) Simon.