25th Annual Holocaust Gathering and Exhibit

holocaust memorial last candle lit

(Mark Nussbaum, Grandson of Babi Yar, assisting with lighting of final candle; Photo by Ray Johnson)

Despite the chilly breeze and overcast sky, today’s 25th Annual Holocaust Gathering and Exhibit, held at Emmons Avenue & West End Avenue, was well-attended until the very end.

The memorial paid special tribute to two exceptional Christian Women, Irene Gut OpDyke and Irena Sendler, who were responsible for rescuing hundreds of Jewish people from annihilation during World War II.

The Shomrim Society of the New York City Police Department started the gathering off with their Color Guard services. Then, it was onto music and singing by the Edward R. Murrow H.S. Mixed Chorus. The multi-ethnic group, which included a young disabled student, sang a few moving songs in both Hebrew and English.

There were displays of artwork and tables with literature to help bring awareness about work going on to keep the memory alive. The representative at the table for Museum of the History of Polish Jews North American Council, who is originally from Sheepshead Bay, shared with me some of his memories growing up here.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz spoke about his experiences visiting Anne Frank’s hideaway in Amsterdam and other places in Europe, such as Austria, that had been the spots of Nazi hatred, as well as modern spots where there were signs of renewed hope.

Mayor Bloomberg was not there and there was no mention about any controversies regarding the inclusion or exclusion homosexuals, gypsies, or any other particular groups.

There was also a display of artwork and winners announced for an Essay, Poetry & Art Contest that was coordinated by Terry Steinberg, Director of Special Projects.

The memorial was a somber and reflective event that, by the end when the sun came out, had people thinking of peace.

Note: Please check back during the week, for more pictures of the event.