EDITORIAL: We walk because we need to remember
Events like AEPi’s silent memorial march are necessary for future
Oftentimes, events are held in order to create a sense of remembrance of tragedies that have passed. And although the common saying, “We will never forget,” is often recited in reference to the tragic events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001, a fraternity at Rutgers hosted a silent memorial walk with a similar slogan, but this time to remember the lives taken during the Holocaust.
It would normally be beneficial to explain that, also referred to as the Shoah, the Holocaust was a mass genocide of 6 million to 11 million Jewish people in the early to mid-20th century. However, the Holocaust is a tragedy that is known universally, mostly because of the gravity of its horror. And on Monday, the brothers of Rutgers' Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi) hosted the “We Walk to Remember” event to send a message about this.
“We Walk to Remember” featured students dressed in plain black or dark gray shirts who walked around the College Avenue campus. AEPi is a Jewish fraternity, and as such, felt it was their responsibility to host the event and do it justice.
After the walk, the 4th annual “Unto Every Person There is a Name” program was held, where the names of the children who were killed in the Holocaust were read for 24 hours. Twenty-four hours allows for several thousand children’s names to be read, and by focusing on just children, the effect on the listener is magnified.
Although there is hope that there are not many that would truly feel this way, there are people who believe that constantly having events such as these are counterproductive because they do not allow people to “move on” from the tragedies. In fact, the Huffington Post wrote about an op-ed in The Beacon (that is now deleted), titled “Why It’s Time for Jews to Get Over the Holocaust,” and this editorial focused on how the Holocaust should not be “singled out” because it is just “a mere historical event.” It is probably safe to assume that the author of this piece feels as though too much time has elapsed between now and the Holocaust for it to still be considered relevant. But this is disturbingly wrong.
There are still Holocaust survivors to this day. In fact, Rutgers Hillel just recently hosted Tova Friedman who, at 78 years old, is one of the youngest Holocaust survivors alive. And the reason that Rutgers Hillel hosted her is because it understands the necessity of having someone who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust speaking to the future leaders of this nation. Why is this a necessity? Because the last thing this world needs is any sort of repeat of the Holocaust to ever occur.
People might believe that something as horrible as the Holocaust could never occur again, but the reality of the political climate of not only the nation, but of the world, is that it is not entirely a far-fetched idea. Even here at Rutgers, reports of swastika symbols being drawn in dormitory buildings were a reality just this year. Even the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, publicly claimed that Hitler had not used chemical weapons during the Holocaust, completely ignoring the fact that gas chambers were among the most prominent torture devices used in the mass genocide. It is this type of discrimination and ignorance that can lead to threats of danger in the future. History does have a chance of repeating itself.
The Brothers of AEPi have done a great service to their fraternity as well as the Rutgers community. By remembering the victims of the Holocaust, they are mourning the past as well as working for a better future.