Alice Kraftova. Ida Kralova. Emil Kramer. Greta Kramerova.
Hedvika Kramerova. Gizela Kramova. Hugo Kramer.
These are the first seven names, out of 72, on page 796 of a list of Holocaust victims.
People have been reading off this list, speaking name after name into a microphone in front of the UCen since noon Wednesday. They will continue until noon Thursday. The list is only partial: a list of some of the victims from one of the camps.
With the constant name-readings in the background, 30 people held a candlelight vigil Wednesday at 8 p.m. to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The people, mostly students, held hands in a circle and repeated “We shall not forget” around a Star of David lit up by candles.
Senior biopsychology major Jérémie Braun, a fourth year member of Hillel who helped organize the name reading and the vigil, said the event helps bring the Holocaust to the community on a personal level.
Braun said he was most impressed by the diversity of people who came to read names and wear small stars to honor the week.
Sophomore global studies major Jarad Bernstein, who sat at the table from midnight to 5 a.m. with a large cup of coffee and several friends, said the event helps send a message.
“It only happened 55 years ago. That’s not that long ago. One of the important things, there’s other examples of this,” Bernstein said. “Even today, with what’s going on, what went on in Bosnia and in some African countries. By coming out with a strong voice about this, hopefully we can prevent other events from happening. I think this does contribute.”
After the vigil, students stayed to watch a presentation on a tour across Poland to look at Nazi concentration camps. Aron Mizrahi, a freshman biology major who went on the trip in high school, said it changed his view of humanity.
He also said it was “appalling” that in Poland, when he was there, the Holocaust was not taught in schools.
Bernstein, whose grandfather served in the U.S. army and was present for the liberation of a concentration camp, said reading the names tied in with his grandfather’s stories on a personal level.
“The one thing he would always say is, ‘the smell.’ He could never get that out of his mind,” Bernstein said. “They had burned down the camp and tried burning everyone in one day because they knew the American troops were coming. By the time they got there, there were six survivors.”
The 30 people who stood for the vigil were one of the largest groups to come, Braun said.
Some students sat on the ground, their hands cupped around their candles to protect the flames against the wind. Some of the candles blew out. Someone relit them.
– Eric Simons