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BOSTON — In an event marking the 10th anniversary of its construction and the 60th anniversary of the German defeat by Allied Forces in World War II, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, along with several other notable speakers, rededicated the New England Holocaust Memorial on Sept. 18 in a moving and hope-filled ceremony.
“I was impressed by the passion that the Jewish people devote to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust for us today,” said Father David C. Michael, associate director for Interreligious Relations for the archdiocese. Father Michael and Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley attended the event along with several survivors of the Nazi genocide and numerous Jewish community leaders.
For the past 10 years, tourists and Bostonians alike have visited the Freedom Trail spot adjacent to Faneuil Hall, where the six glass towers of the memorial stand. Smoke streams up through the towers, symbolizing the smokestacks of the death camps as well as emphasizing the 6 million numbers of the Nazi victims engraved upon the glass.
Wiesel and fellow speakers, including Mayor Thomas M. Menino, stood in front of the glass monument and emphasized the importance of remembering victims of racial cleansing and genocide not only from the past, but in the present as well. Wiesel invoked the memories of Bosnia and Rwanda, as well as pointing to the current situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. The author and Boston University professor asked the audience to educate themselves on the topic and to apply the overwhelming lesson of the Holocaust, calling to mind the phrase, “Never again.”
“I particularly liked Wiesel’s comment that the Jewish people have ‘learned how to build on ruins,’”said Father Michael, “and how they can show the world how to build on the ruins from Hurricane Katrina and the situation in Darfur.”