The theme for this year’s Holocaust memorial event at the UN was, “ Journeys through the Holocaust.” One of the speakers, Ron Prosor, the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, delivered a compelling statement which was highlighted by the simple word ACT (Acceptance, Compassion and Tolerance).
Steven Spielberg delivered a powerful keynote speech, in which he commented that the 54,000 testimonies that he has gathered are being used today as a tool for teaching survivors of current atrocities how to live with their past and move on with their lives. This is the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Shoah Foundation,which Spielberg established to record video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. Several members of our local community have provided Shoah testimony, including my mother, Ellen Dorman, and my father, Victor Dorman.
Rena Finder, a Schindler’s List survivor, discussed her experiences and reminded us, “to be a bystander is as bad as being the perpetrator.“ The presentation that I thought had the strongest impact was that of four high school students from the Bronx High School of Science. They spoke about the Holocaust Museum and Studies Center, founded in their school back in 1978 by Dr. Stuart S. Elenko, a teacher, and in my mind, a visionary for his early contribution to Holocaust studies.
I was quite touched when one of the high school students quoted Elie Weisel: “Indifference to me, is the epitome of all evil.” Those words are what motivates and drives all of us at the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education to open the minds of today's youth.
I leave you with the following: Educate! Inspire! Empower!
Howard Dorman, President of Chhange