By William Cuellar
“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them again.”
The famous Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel’s famous words were heard several times Wednesday night during Yam Ha’Shoah, or Day of the Holocaust, in remembrance of those who perished during the Holocaust over 70 years ago.
The vigil, which took place in Union Plaza, commemorated the atrocities committed by the German Nazi regime during the 1930s and 1940s. Over 70 people attended the vigil.
Israel recognizes the memorial holiday every year on the 27th of Nisan and celebrates the Jewish resistance.
Although the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on Jan. 27 and generally celebrates the liberation of Auschwitz, Israel’s Yam Ha’Shoah celebrates the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
Doron Feuer, fourth-year industrial engineering student and president of Broncos for Israel, chose to celebrate Yam Ha’Shoah because it “focuses on resistance and fighting hatred.”
This year, Broncos for Israel celebrated Israel’s Day of the Holocaust from sundown on Wednesday to sunrise on Thursday.
The Holocaust Memorial Vigil featured two guest speakers that were both Holocaust survivors.
The first speaker, 76-year-old Monique Saigal, spoke of her time in L_Ò÷e, France during World War II. As a child, she was converted to Catholicism in order to avoid being labeled a “Jew.”
“We have to remember what happened during the second World War,” said Saigal. “These were innocent people who were just born Jewish.”
After the war, Saigal moved to the United States where she would eventually meet her husband and teach French at Pomona College for 45 years.
“[Saigal’s] speech was my favorite,” said Tomer Solel, a fourth-year mathematics student. “Being raised Catholic and falling in love with Judaism was really unique.”
The second speaker, 82-year-old Mala Langholz, told a chilling tale of death and despair for her family during the Holocaust. Of her 60 family members who went to German concentration camps, only three survived.
Langholz was taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp at the age of 11 and described the events in detail.
“We lined up, and they scrutinized [us] as they decided who would live and who would die,” said Langholz. “I was sent to the line to the right ” the line that would live.”
Langholz went on to describe the events she witnessed at the camp. Langholz explained how she would stay up at night to say goodbye to everyone because no one knew who would live and who would die the next day.
Saigal, Langholz and Langholz’s husband Sam Langholz led a Q&A session. Sam Langholz was in an internment camp in Poland where he worked in a rubber plant for the duration of the war.
Broncos for Israel’s secretary and second-year business student Adrienne N., who requested not to share her surname, coordinated the event on behalf of the club.
“I thought [the vigil] was powerful,” said Adrienne. “For most people, it was their first time hearing a Holocaust speaker come out and share their story. For a lot of people, it’s eye opening.”
Israel Week sought to showcase Israeli life by hosting an event every night. Events included a film screening, a motivational speaker, Yom Ha’Shoah, a bowling social and a Shabbat dinner.
According to Adrienne, Israel Week focused on Israeli history, heritage and culture while raising awareness on campus.
Mireya Martinez / The Poly Post
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