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

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

The Battalion

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Students+took+30+minute+shifts+reading+lists+of+thousands+of+names+belonging+to+those+who+died+in+the+Holocaust.
Photo by Allison Bradshaw

Students took 30 minute shifts reading lists of thousands of names belonging to those who died in the Holocaust.

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Texas A&M Hillel, a Jewish campus student organization, held a 24-hour vigil for victims of the genocide.

“This year, we dedicated 24 hours — from 4 p.m. yesterday to 4 p.m. today — reading victims names,” said Matt Rosenberg, executive director and campus rabbi of Hillel. “All shifts for every hour were covered with as many as four volunteers to as little as one.”

Toni Nickel, international studies sophomore, said the continuous reading of names for 24 hours covered only a fraction of holocaust victims.

“There were 11 million people killed in the holocaust,” Nickel said. “Out of those, six million were Jews and 1.5 million were children. Even if we only recited the names of the children, it would still last longer than 24 hours.”

Nickel said those who volunteered in the event covered an aggregated 100,000 names.

“We read these victims’ names continuously for 24 hours to show they’re still alive in our memory and cherished in our hearts,” Nickel said.  

Samantha Guz, psychology senior and Hillel member, said her grandparents were survivors of the holocaust.

“[My grandparents] lived in eastern Poland and immediately fled to the Ukrainian forest once Nazis begin raiding the country and collecting Jews to murder or take to concentration camps,” Guz said. “They escaped this ‘cat and mouse’ chase and came to the U.S. after the war ended.”
Guz said remembering the holocaust is important to every Jewish person and something everyone needs to take notice of.

“Lots of Jews in the U.S. have descendants who either survived or died in the holocaust,” Guz said. “In fact, every part of the world has experienced some sort of genocide, whether it was explicitly called that or not. This event reflects that the holocaust doesn’t only affects Jews, it affects everyone else.”

The vigil is part of a two-part holocaust remembrance event that also encompassed a panel of survivors. Nickel said two holocaust survivors had spoken earlier in the week and hosted an open discussion of their experiences.

The purpose of the event is to spread the word and make sure something like the holocaust never happens again, Nickel said.

Rosenburg said this is the first time in recent years the organization has been able to hold a vigil.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to remember the victims of the holocaust and share with the campus community,” Rosenburg said.
Guz said she wished more of humanity recognized themselves as being a part of this.
“I don’t see the holocaust as a Jewish thing, I see it as a human thing,” Guz said. “No matter our backgrounds, in the end we’re all people.”

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  • Candles and bracelets reading “Never Forget” and “Zachor”, the hebrew word for “remember”, accompanied the Holocaust name reading on Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    Photo by Allison Bradshaw
  • Toni Nickel, Georgia Hansen, and Elexandra Chelf read lists of names belonging to those who died in the Holocaust in Rudder Plaza on Thursday.

    Photo by Allison Bradshaw
  • Rabi Matt Rosenburg reads to close Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Thursday evening.

    Photo by Allison Bradshaw
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