Lief: Stories of Holocaust important to humanity
WHEELING — As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, fewer and fewer survivors of concentration camps remain to tell their stories.
That is why education about the Holocaust must continue in the future so past atrocities against humankind don’t occur, according to Rabbi Joshua Lief of the Temple Shalom in Wheeling.
“It is critical that events from our past don’t pass from our memory,” he said.
“We need to continue to be vigilant so history doesn’t repeat itself. That is why telling the story is so important — not just for Jewish people, but the world.
“We must preserve the stories. The time is coming when there will be nobody left. It will be up to the rest of us — and those who come after — to keep the memories so that those who died haven’t died in vain.”
Some Jewish families might not have in their lines relatives who experienced the Holocaust.
“Fortunately, my own family had immigrated to America decades before the Holocaust,” Lief said.
“But as Jewish people — even more so as a human family — we are affected by the event. The tragedy of human evil affects us all.”
Lief at first said he did not think there were any survivors of Auschwitz living locally, then said there could possibly be just one.
To assure the stories of Auschwitz, concentration camps and the Holocaust are passed on to the next generation, the Temple Shalom each year commemorate Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. The event takes place in April each year.
The temple also retains a library and archive, and regularly remembers “all those who perished,” according to Lief.
Lief is hopeful an event like the Holocaust will not happen again.
“I would like to think not,” he said. “I think we all understand how terrible that was. I’m hopeful all people would stand up against it, but that is only guaranteed if we remember what happened in the past.”