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Sunday, April 19, 2009

‘Repair the world:’ Holocaust Remembrance Day draws attention to ending genocide

By Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star


TERRE HAUTE — As 12 white candles burned on a small table, those attending the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony bowed their heads for a moment of silence.

They remembered those who died, honored those who survived, and reflected on the part they can play in ending genocide.

More than 40 people attended the ceremony Friday at the CANDLES Holocaust Museum. Eleven candles symbolize those killed in the Nazi Holocaust, while the 12th candle was for victims of genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.

April is Genocide Prevention Month, and Tuesday is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Eva Kor, Auschwitz survivor and museum founder, said the annual remembrance is not just to mourn the millions of innocent lives lost through genocide.

“This museum wants to remember in order to take action,” she said. “In Hebrew, we say repair the world [tikkun olam].”

Every few years she takes groups, including teachers, to Auschwitz. The goal is to help young people understand “how important it is to try to prevent prejudice and hatred. When we see genocide anywhere in the world, it is our job and your job to do something,” Kor said.

During the ceremony, candles were lit in memory of various groups, and not just victims of genocide.

As Kor lit the first candle, Terre Haute South Vigo High School student Sarah Selby paid tribute to the 1 1/2 million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.

“These children never again knew what it was to play with their brothers and sisters. They never got to go to school to become the scientists, teachers, doctors, performers and people they could have become,” Selby read.

Others lit candles for the political opponents of the Third Reich; for the grandparents who died in the Holocaust; for those deemed mentally and physically unfit by the Nazis; and for the “righteous gentiles” who risked their own lives to save others.

As museum coordinator Kiel Majewski lit the 11th candle, Kor dedicated it “for today’s victims, all the abused, neglected and forgotten children in the world today … They are just as innocent as the children in the Holocaust.”

Kor said she tells those children to never give up on their dreams. “You are the future, and you will make it,” she tells them.

As Kor lit the 12th candle, Majewski spoke in memory of the millions of people who have been murdered in genocides other than the Holocaust. In April, five other genocides are commemorated: Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.

“Let this 12th candle be a light to remember those who died, a light to educate our community about the issue of genocide, and a light to ignite our hearts so that we act now to end the genocide in Darfur,” he read

The museum is creating a group committed to taking action whenever and wherever genocide becomes a threat, and Majewski encouraged those attending the ceremony to get involved.

Selby, who is studying the Holocaust in one of her high school classes, said it’s important to remember. “A lot of people don’t know anything about the Holocaust and don’t have any idea what went on back then,” she said.

It’s important to educate young people about it and all the millions of innocent lives lost. When she reads about it, “I cringe,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.

Another South student, Samantha Madley, also participated in the ceremony. It’s important to remember the Holocaust “because even today, we still have prejudiced people. We still have genocide going on. I don’t think things should be forgotten,” she said.

Also attending was 23-year-old Justin Deal of Brazil. “I’m interested in learning more about the suffering of the Jewish people as well as others who have suffered through genocide,” he said. “I’m very concerned about the suffering of others and finding out ways of helping them and stopping this from happening anymore.”

Others speaking during the ceremony were Mayor Duke Bennett as well as representatives of 8th District Congressman Brad Ellsworth and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

As Kor lit the first candle, Terre Haute South Vigo High School student Sarah Selby paid tribute to the 1.5 million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.

“These children never again knew what it was to play with their brothers and sisters. They never got to go to school to become the scientists, teachers, doctors, performers and people they could have become,” Selby read.

Others lit candles for the political opponents of the Third Reich; for the grandparents who died in the Holocaust; for those deemed mentally and physically unfit by the Nazis; and for the “righteous gentiles” who risked their own lives to save others.

As museum coordinator Kiel Majewski lit the 11th candle, Kor dedicated it “for today’s victims, all the abused, neglected and forgotten children in the world today … They are just as innocent as the children in the Holocaust.”

Kor said she tells those children to never give up on their dreams. “You are the future, and you will make it,” she tells them.

As Kor lit the 12th candle, Majewski spoke in memory of the millions of people who have been murdered in genocides other than the Holocaust. In April, five other genocides are commemorated: Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.

“Let this 12th candle be a light to remember those who died, a light to educate our community about the issue of genocide, and a light to ignite our hearts so that we act now to end the genocide in Darfur,” he read.

The museum is creating a group committed to taking action whenever and wherever genocide becomes a threat, and Majewski encouraged those attending the ceremony to get involved.

Selby, who is studying the Holocaust in one of her high school classes, said it’s important to remember. “A lot of people don’t know anything about the Holocaust and don’t have any idea what went on back then,” she said.

It’s important to educate young people about it and all the millions of innocent lives lost. When she reads about it, “I cringe,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.

Another South student, Samantha Madley, also participated in the ceremony. It’s important to remember the Holocaust “because even today, we still have prejudiced people. We still have genocide going on. I don’t think things should be forgotten,” she said.

Also attending was 23-year-old Justin Deal of Brazil. “I’m interested in learning more about the suffering of the Jewish people as well as others who have suffered through genocide,” he said. “I’m very concerned about the suffering of others and finding out ways of helping them and stopping this from happening anymore.”

Others speaking during the ceremony were Mayor Duke Bennett as well as representatives of 8th District Congressman Brad Ellsworth and U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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Cambodia to provide anti-mosquito nets to counter malaria

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): The Cambodian government will soon dispatch to the public 1,500 nets soaked with mosquito- killing liquid amid rising danger of malaria during the rainy season, national media said on Sunday.

The nets will be received by the local people in provinces of Battambang, Pailin, Kampot and Pursat, where malaria used to have higher infection rates than other provinces of the kingdom, Chinese-language newspaper the Jian Hua Daily quoted government officials as saying.

Such nets proved to be very effective in the past years to contain spread of the disease, which is mainly transmitted through biting of Tiger Mosquitoes, they said.

Two million out of the 14 million population of Cambodia face danger of malaria, and the government prepares to allocate one such net for each two persons in the rainy season, they said.

Therefore, one million nets soaked with mosquito-killing drugs will be needed this year, they added.

In 2008, some 50,000 Cambodians were infected with malaria and over 100 of them died, according to official figures.

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