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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M Hillel to hold vigil in rememberance of Holocaust victims

In+honor+of+the+11+million+who+perished+in+the+concentration+camps+under+the+Nazi+regime%2C+Hillel+at+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+will+read+off+names+of+the+victims.
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In honor of the 11 million who perished in the concentration camps under the Nazi regime, Hillel at Texas A&M will read off names of the victims.

In honor of the 11 million who perished in the concentration camps under the Nazi regime, the Hillel at Texas A&M will read off names of victims Tuesday.

“My hope is that people will hear the names and pause to think about the victims of the Holocaust,” Rabbi Matt Rosenberg said. “We are going to be reading about 20,000 names in the course of 11 hours — one hour for each of the one million victims that died in the Holocaust.” 

The vigil begins Tuesday at Rudder Plaza, spanning from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The vigil is in preparation for Yom HaShoah — or Holocaust Remembrance Day — and begins Wednesday night. It will be the second year Hillel has held the vigil. Toni Nickel, international studies senior, suggested the event last year as a modified version of a common Yom HaShoah tradition.  

“There is a long-standing tradition that during the 24 hours Yom HaShoah is observed and having a 24-hour name-reading vigil because the idea is if your name is spoken, you are not forgotten,” Nickel said. “The idea is to never forget the atrocities that happened during the Holocaust.” 

Since finals intersected with the day of remembrance, organizers adjusted the time to work within the busy schedule of students. Although she does not have any immediate family that was affected by the genocide, Nickel said the vigil is a time to remember all walks of life. 

“I think that is the most important thing to all of us that it is not just Jews that were lost or homosexuals or political dissidents but the people you encountered on your walk everyday to work,” Nickel said. “It is important that we stand and read their names, because we are reading the names of children and mothers and not people who could be defined by one thing.”

Rosenberg said the goal is to read over 20,000 names of victims from the Berlin area and victims who were children. He said they could never read or even begin to fully honor the millions that died. 

“It is getting increasingly difficult to connect young people and young Jews to the Holocaust, because unfortunately we are losing survivors who still remain and can tell their stories,” Rosenberg said. “But we are trying to find a way to help communities just remember this huge genocide of so many people and as well as non Jews. Six million Jews were killed but so were five million others.” 

As a member of the new Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, economics junior Ryan Shulman and his fellow Alpha Epsilon Pi members will take part in the national program called “We Walk to Remember.” Shulman said members will walk from Rudder Plaza to the Academic Building and back dressed in all black. 

“It reflects the Aggie tradition of remembering the dead and remembering our ancestors and helping bring them back to life,” Shulman said. “The fact that we chose to remember not just our ancestors but people we didn’t even know who died in vain allows us to remember them so they didn’t die in vain.”

Regardless of whether you have a family connection, Shulman said all of humanity needs to take part in remembrance to prevent further tragedies. 

“This is an opportunity to spread awareness of the Jewish community and for people to know that even if they aren’t Jewish, they can still be impacted,” Shulman said. “If people look to history as a lesson, they could prevent future genocides from happening.” 

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