Tag Archives: Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Remembrance Day program at the Library

“Evil does not need your help; only your indifference.”

—Hanns Loewenbach (1915-2012)

On Monday, January 28th, Regent University and the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater will observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a multimedia presentation, What We Carry, a documentary based on interviews with four Holocaust survivors from the Hampton Roads area.

What We Carry is an educational program for classrooms, museums and community outlets. It was created to preserve personal testaments from Holocaust survivors for future generations. In the words of the program’s creators: “First person accounts are the heart and soul of the unimaginable tragedy that is the Holocaust. To look into somebody’s eyes as they are recounting inconceivable degradation and horror is unforgettable. But what happens when survivors are no longer alive to share their stories? Who will teach the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations so that truth can continue, questions can be asked, and history cannot be rewritten?”

Monday’s presentation will focus on interviews with Hanns Loewenbach, who died last January at the age of 96. The program will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 in the Library Auditorium. A reception will follow. Please consider joining us for this important event.

For more information, visit the What We Carry website or visit the links on the Library’s What We Carry webpage.

Library commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Written by Harold Henkel, Associate Librarian

On January 27, 1945 the advancing Soviet army entered Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. In 2005, the United Nations designated this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an annual day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Nazi era.

This year, on the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Library marked this solemn event with two days of commemorative events. From 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Library screened Claude Lanzmann’s 9½ hour film Shoah. Based on interviews with concentration camp survivors, guards, and witnesses from surrounding villages, Shoah (1985) has been acclaimed as the most important of all Holocaust documentaries.

At 6:30 p.m., in front of a standing-room only audience in the Library Auditorium, a memorial service for victims of the Nazis was held in conjunction with an introduction to the world premier of The Auschwitz Album Revisited, an exhibition of 28 paintings by artist Dr. Pat Mercer Hutchens. The memorial service included reflections on the Holocaust by Library Dean Sara Baron, University Chancellor Pat Robertson, and President Carlos Campo. Five honored guests also spoke. Dr. Israel Zoberman, founding Rabbi at Congregation Beth Chaverim in Virginia Beach, led the recitation of the Kaddish (Jewish Mourner’s Prayer). Holocaust survivor and Chesapeake resident David Katz gave a moving testimony of how he survived the war with the aid of French “righteous Gentiles,” and even served as a courier for the French Resistance. A brief autobiography of Mr. Katz may be read here.

Following Mr. Katz’s remarks, Rev. Sonny Mathew introduced the artist. Dr. Hutchens recounted looking at the Auschwitz Album and feeling deeply moved by the photographs, particularly those of women and children. “I tried to think about how I would have felt, and I was overwhelmed with sorrow.” It was then that she felt God’s call to give artistic expression to the subjects of the photographs. Initially, Dr. Hutchens had planned to do a series of only twelve paintings, but as she worked on the project, she felt a responsibility to memorialize all the children in the Auschwitz Album. Twenty-eight paintings have now been created, and Dr. Hutchens continues to add to the series.

The memorial service concluded with Cantor Roni Wexler chanting the El Male Rachamim (prayer for the departed). A video of the memorial service may be viewed by clicking here.

Following a five-minute break, the audience re-assembled in the Library gallery, and the artist’s husband, Brigadier General James Hutchens, US Army (ret.), offered a prayer, blessing the paintings and officially opening the exhibition. A video of Gen. Hutchen’s remarks may be viewed here.

The Auschwitz Album Revisited will be on display in the Library gallery through February 18th. The paintings will be taken to the Krakow Jewish Cultural Festival in Poland this summer.

On January 28th at the Library, 14 readers joined historian Dr. David Meyer for a discussion of Elie Wiesel’s memoir of Auschwitz, Night, one of the foundational works of Holocaust literature.

Throughout all the commemorative events, the declaration “Never Again” emerged as the over-arching theme of the proceedings, with President Campo articulating what must be the end-purpose of all education about the Holocaust: “We will ever remain vigilant, and I stand in the tradition that says ‘never again.’”

Holocaust Remembrance Day events at Library

January 27th is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. In 2005, the United Nations designated this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an annual day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Nazi era.

This year, the Library will mark this solemn day with a Remembrance Service and the world premier of “The Auschwitz Album Revisited,” an exhibition of oil paintings by artist Pat Mercer Hutchens. The paintings in the exhibit were inspired by the Auschwitz Album, “the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau.” The paintings will be on public display in the Library Gallery from January 23 through February 6 before being taken to the Krakow Jewish Cultural Festival in Poland.

The Remembrance Service and exhibition opening will begin in the Library Auditorium at 6:30 PM and conclude with a viewing of the paintings in the Library Gallery. A number of distinguished guests will speak, including Dr. Hutchens, cantor Ron Wexler, Rabbi Israel Zoberman, and Holocaust survivor David Katz. University Chancellor Pat Robertson and President Campo will also speak. The event will conclude with a reception and fellowship.

For more information on the Remembrance Day Service and events, including links to speaker biographies, see http:www.regent.eduNEVER-AGAIN.

The Library also encourages the Regent community to participate in this year’s Winter Common Read. Several of the Schools, as well as the Library Book Club will be reading and discussing Night, Ellie Wiesel’s memoir of Auschwitz. To receive notification of the time and date for the Book Club discussion, please contact harohen@regent.edu.

Image credit: Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. http:www.yadvashem.org.