Fairbanks Jewish community discuss significance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day
On the 26th of October, 2005, the United Nations declared January 27 a day of commemoration for the victims of the Holocaust. The date represents the anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.
Last week, religious leaders gathered at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and world leaders gathered at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in honor of the event.
In Fairbanks, which boasts a modest Jewish community, congregants at the Congregation Or HaTzafon synagogue discussed the significance of remembering the Holocaust.
"I went to Auschwitz actually, 4 years ago when I adopted my kids from Poland,” says Jason Weiner, President of the congregation. “And they really have done an amazing job, I mean you walk up there and they have an entire presentation of walking through and having you feel the way, the way it would have been.”
Regarding the dwindling number of living Holocaust survivors, Weiner said, “What we’re going to lose is that a lot of the times when you go to Yad Vashem or you even go to Auschwitz, they would have a holocaust survivor who would talk about their experience. We're going to lose that."
He says that future generations will have to commemorate the Holocaust through educational programs and preserved historic sites.
Robyne, a congregant of the synagogue, called attention to current events mirroring the Nazi Holocaust "So the thing about Holocaust Remembrance Day that makes us think is that the Holocaust is not just Jewish, and it's not over,” she said. “It happened to Tutsis in Rwanda, it's happening to Bahai'is in Iran, it's happening to Muslims in Myanmar, it's happening to Uyghurs in China. We need to be thinking of our differences as interesting instead of dangerous."