On Monday morning, April 12th, Yom HaShoah, I had the honor of joining Congregation Bonai Shalom’s Rabbi Marc Soloway up in Cheyenne for the Wyoming Governor’s Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony. Rabbi Marc was the invited keynote speaker for the annual event at the State Capitol.
After the Wyoming Governor and the Mayor of Cheyenne delivered impressive, touching remarks to the audience, which was comprised of public officials, many members of the local Jewish community, nearly 100 elementary school students, and two amazing Survivors (sister and brother Helen Zigmond and Zoltan Gansz), Rabbi Marc delivered a moving, personal account. He spoke vividly of one of our community treasures, Survivor Martin Small, z”l, and the powerful impact Martin, his story of survival, and his memory have had on Rabbi Marc’s life and work. While wearing a tie given to him by Martin’s beloved Doris, Rabbi Marc spoke, too, of our dear friend, Survivor Irene Rosenschein, and the faith that kept her and her three sisters alive and together through the horrors of Auschwitz.
The strong message Rabbi Marc impressed upon the audience, especially the young students, is that “Never Forget” must be transformed into an active command, that of ensuring that no people ever again be subjected to hate, bigotry and injustice because of how they worship, the color of their skin, where they were born, or who they love. He spoke truth to the message of “Never Again”: it must flavor our actions, thoughts and deeds every day, and we must be relentless in our quest for equality and respect for all people.
May the Six Million rest in peace, may we never forget the heart-wrenching stories of the brave Survivors, and may we not let an ounce of pain or drop of blood be in vain—remembering must include actions to secure justice and fair treatment for all.