Wednesday, November 25, 2020

MSU Hillel hosts ceremony for Holocaust survivors

April 24, 2014
<p>Holocaust survivors light candles in remembrance April 24, 2014, during the Holocaust Commemoration Ceremony at the Capitol Building. Survivors joined many representatives and senators from across the state to light the candles. Julia Nagy/The State News </p>

Holocaust survivors light candles in remembrance April 24, 2014, during the Holocaust Commemoration Ceremony at the Capitol Building. Survivors joined many representatives and senators from across the state to light the candles. Julia Nagy/The State News

Photo by Julia Nagy | The State News

Posner, a Holocaust survivor, was not telling just any story.

She was recounting her own fearful memories of the Holocaust at the Official State of Michigan Holocaust Commemoration ceremony.

Posner was one of 35 survivors present at the ceremony.

Robyn Berkowitz Hughey, assistant director of the MSU Hillel, said the organization hosts a commemoration ceremony every year to recognize Holocaust survivors while remembering the lives of those who were less fortunate.

The MSU Hillel works with the Michigan Jewish Conference to build and maintain a Jewish communal presence in Lansing while facilitating political and community relations.

“If people don’t know about it or learn about (the Holocaust), it’s very easy to pretend like this never happened,” Berkowitz Hughey said. “But it did, and it’s very important that we — especially young people — remember it and help to carry on the survivors’ stories and memories.”

During the hour-long ceremony, Michigan representatives made remarks on the importance of recognizing Jews in Michigan.

After, the MSU a cappella group Capital Green sang a somber rendition of “Eli Eli,” a Hebrew song.

Women’s and gender studies junior Mara Abramson, a member of Capital Green, said this is the second year the group performed for the commemoration ceremony.

Abramson said the group has several members who are Jewish and have family members and friends who were affected by the Holocaust. As a result, the performance was personal for several group members.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” Abramson said.

The ceremony ended with the Holocaust survivors solemnly lighting a menorah.

Human biology senior Danielle Gittleman, chair of the committee that planned the event, said the commemoration ceremony gives Lansing community members a chance to remember the Holocaust. It also gives students a chance to personally talk with the survivors.

Because the current generation of youth is the last one that will be able to personally speak with survivors, Gittleman said it’s their job to carry the various stories into the future.

“It’s something that if we don’t carry on, there wont be any more stories to talk about,” Gittleman said.

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