Houston, TX: Approximately 1,000 people in the Greater Houston area gathered in April 2014 for the Third Annual Holocaust March of Remembrance Houston. The eye-opening events in Baytown, Brenham, Kingwood, Meyerland, and Webster brought Christians and Jews together to remember and to honor Holocaust victims, survivors, descendants and rescuers.
“I’ve learned about the Holocaust, and I’ve been to the Holocaust Museum, but I never connected to the individual until I heard Mr. Marks (Holocaust survivor) speak today,” said a participant in the Kingwood March on Saturday. What really connected for her was that Al Marks was 12 years old when he was taken to Auschwitz, the same age as her son. Marks was separated from his parents, never to see them again.
“It wasn’t six million,” said Rabbi Dan Gordon of Temple Beth Torah, “it was one, six million times.”
It can be easy to overlook the individual suffering that occurred in the Holocaust because of the vast number of people affected. But hearing the story of a Holocaust survivor first-hand connects the listener with the heart of God for the individuals who suffered. And it’s this connection to God’s heart that allows one to truly love their neighbor, with compassion and understanding, and compels them to stand for those who are oppressed.
“I was so moved by the March of Remembrance in Houston. Standing on the stage as a representative of the state of Israel, as well as a representative of my own family, was a powerful experience,” said Maya Kadosh, Deputy Consul, Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest. “Humanity must never forget the murderous evil that was the Holocaust. Building bridges of understanding, as these Christian organizers did, is the only way the world will never experience another Holocaust.”
In addition to building bridges of understanding, the March of Remembrance also provided a unique opportunity for tearing down barriers.
In Meyerland on Sunday, after Holocaust survivor Dr. Anna Steinberger shared her testimony, Dr. Franziska Eckert shared some of her story. Dr. Eckert is a radiation oncologist from Tubingen, Germany, and the granddaughter of a Nazi SS member and trainer. She traveled from Germany to speak at the Marches in Brenham and Meyerland to acknowledge the atrocities perpetrated against the Jews, and to offer heartfelt repentance. In this touching and powerful moment, she was met with a warm embrace from Dr. Steinberger and others from the Jewish community.
At Sunday’s event in Meyerland, the March of Remembrance was honored to have many special guests and speakers, including Maya Kadosh, Deputy Consul, Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest; William Miller, Deputy Regional Director for Senator Ted Cruz; Rabbi Dan Gordon of Temple Beth Torah, National Adviser to the March of Remembrance; Dawn and Richard Rawson, President of Insperity, and Honorary Chairs; Pastor Jeff Berger of Westbury Baptist Church, Meyerland Chair; Holocaust survivor Dr. Anna Steinberger, Commissioner of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission; Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld, President of Center for Medicine After the Holocaust; Dr. Doug Stringer, Founder of Somebody Cares International; and Susie Wolf, Founder of Seniority Services.
Following the service in Meyerland, hundreds of participants walked two miles from Godwin Park to Congregation Beth Yeshurun to attend the Jewish community’s Yom Hashoah Observance coordinated by Holocaust Museum Houston.
The long march and warm weather didn’t stop Holocaust survivor Ruth Steinfeld, who, at age 80, also participated in the March. “I walked two miles because of the meaning, because of what y’all are doing to remind people of the atrocities,” said Mrs. Steinfeld. “It’s very heartfelt for me to see all those people who never had a person in the Holocaust, and who never had the pain I had to go through, and here they’re all banding together to make sure that it never happens again.”
About the March of Remembrance
The March of Remembrance is a sister to the March of Life in Europe, which was started in 2007 by Pastor Jobst Bittner, TOS Ministry, of Tubingen Germany. Marches are held in over 50 US cities, and internationally, on Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) to remember the atrocities of the Holocaust and stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in saying Never Again.
The March provides an opportunity to honor Holocaust survivors and let their stories be told; educate a generation that is many times unaware of the reality of the horrors of the Holocaust; remember not only those who were lost in the Holocaust, but those who fought for freedom; and engage the issues of anti-Semitism and social justice.
The March of Remembrance Houston is grateful to the sponsors who make these events possible through their generous donations. Thank you to Panera Bread, The Nathaniel Center, Center for Medicine After the Holocaust, GHL Houston Limo Rentals, Medeski Design, Minuteman Press, Senior Source, Seniors Choice LLC, Cool Threads, Gold’s Gym, Kingwood Funeral Home, Wal-Mart, and Three Brothers Bakery.
Next year’s March of Remembrance will be held on April 11-12, 2015. March organizers expect the 2015 March will feature additional locations in the Greater Houston area, including nearby Galveston.
To receive information about the events as the date approaches, sign up for the newsletter at http://holocaustremembranceassociation.org/.