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Chabad of Bakersfield honors International Holocaust Remembrance Day

"It is our job to remember them."
Holocaust Remembrance
Posted at 10:25 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 01:44:19-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — January 27 is recognized as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations marked this day back in 2005 to remember the millions of Jews who lost their lives during the Holocaust.

"The only way for it to never happen again, is to never forget. We have to understand that one-third of Jewish people were killed in Germany. It is our job to remember them," said Rabbi Shmuel Schlanger, Chabad of Bakersfield.

According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, it was on Jan. 27 in 1945 that Soviet forces liberated the largest concentration camp complex. In Bakersfield, local community organizations say it’s important to recognize this day so that the significance is never forgotten.

“To teach children, to teach the next generation about humanity, and most of all to remember the victims of the Holocaust.”

That’s why Rabbi Schlanger said they are building a Holocaust Memorial, saying it’s the first of the kind in the central valley. “It will be a place where children, adults and people of all walks of life will be welcome to come here. To read all the story boards that we are going to display.”

Also on display will be a tribute to show each life lost, using a button to symbolize every life.

A box in the Chabad has over 5,000 buttons, and though each one looks pretty small, each button represents a life that was lost in the holocaust. Now just like these, there are millions of buttons all over, all to be a part of the Holocaust Memorial.

Rabbi Schlanger said building this memorial has a personal connection for him. “I am a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, and my grandfather’s and grandmother’s entire families were part of the Jews killed in Europe. It has a tremendous amount of meaning to me. I’m very passionate about remembering because it’s my obligation to remember.”

The Chabad said the memorial should be open to the public in a few months.

So far, all the concrete has been laid, and volunteers are working to sort the buttons, all to help educate people about the horrors of the holocaust.

“We will never forget, neither will we forgive, but we will move forward, and that’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re doing by remembering, and we’re bringing awareness.”