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Thursday, November 27, 2014
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Remembering the Holocaust

Last Modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 11:28 AM

Southwest Louisiana residents have the opportunity to educate themselves on the Holocaust over the next few days and reflect on the misery and tragedy of man’s cruelty to his fellow man.

Yom HaShoah, which remembers the victims of the Holocaust, will be observed in Lake Charles tonight and on Monday, April 28.

An exhibit, “The Holocaust: 1933-1945” will open at 5 p.m. today and run through Tuesday, April 29, at the Carnegie Library, 411 Pujo St. Eighteen posters depicting Jewish life prior to the Holocaust and the persecution, deportation, concentration camps and Nuremberg trials will be displayed. The posters were discovered last year in McNeese’s Frazer Library.

McNeese State University professors Mark Wygoda and Robert Cooper will conduct readings at 6 p.m.

Wygoda will read excerpts from his father’s memoirs, “Shadow of the Swastika.” Hermann Wygoda was a witness to the Holocaust and fought against the Nazis as a smuggler into the Warsaw ghetto and a courier and by leading a 2,500-member fighting force in northern Italy. Hermann Wygoda received honors from three nations after the war, including a Bronze Star for Valor from the United States.

Cooper will read poems from his book, ‘‘The Camp, a Memory Book, 1942-1945.’’

Holocaust survivor Leo Ullman will speak about his experience 7-8:15 p.m. Monday, April 28, at McNeese’s Shearman Fine Arts Theatre.

It is fitting that Yom HaShoah observances annually across the world recall the nearly 6 million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and their sympathizers. Four million other political dissidents, Poles, Gypsies, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals and the handicapped also fell victim to the Nazis’ insanity.

‘‘Jews happened to be the major victims of that event,’’ Jeshujahu Weinberg, the one-time director of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. once said, ‘‘but it is certainly relevant for everybody.’’

Relevant now when hardly a day goes by without some merchant of hate in the Middle East calling for the obliteration of Israel and all Jews.

Relevant now when last week a white supremacist allegedly fatally shots three people at two Jewish facilities in Kansas City, Mo.

Relevant now when Jews in the Ukraine last week were ordered to register with the government or face deportation or having their property seized.

We should never forget the horrors of the Holocaust. Tonight and next week, we have a time to remember.

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