URI to hold Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony and discussion with local Holocaust survivor

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KINGSTON, R.I. — April 13, 2007 — Hillel at the University of Rhode Island will hold a campus-wide commemoration in honor of Yom HaShoah—Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday, April 16 at 2 p.m. in front of the Multicultural Center, 64 Lower College Road in Kingston. (In case of rain the ceremony will take place in Room 101 of the Multicultural Center.) The student led service will feature poetry, readings and songs and remarks by Holocaust survivor, Alice Goldstein. Following the brief ceremony, Goldstein will speak in greater detail and answer questions in Room 101 of the Multicultural Center.

Goldstein spent the first eight years of her life in Nazi Germany. Born into a family that had been in Germany for two centuries, she saw the gradual isolation and degradation of her parents and grandparents as the Nazis tightened the scope of Jewish activities. Fortunately, her parents had the foresight to arrange to flee Germany, and they arrived in the US just one week before the hostilities of World War II began. Goldstein’s presentation seeks some answers to the question of how such atrocities could happen in a modern democratic state and what kinds of lessons we can draw from her experiences.

Goldstein is a retired social researcher in population studies from Brown University. She is active in the Jewish community of RI, with special attention to Jewish education. She is the mother of three children and the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren. She lives with her husband, Sidney, in Warwick.

In conjunction with Yom HaShoah, Hillel will display a commemorative “Field of Flags” on the Hammerschlag Mall on the URI Kingston Campus (the walkway between the Multicultural Center and the Library) from April 15-20. Nearly 2400 small colored flags will be planted in the ground, each representing 5000 victims of the Holocaust. Eighty additional flags will represent the 400,000 victims of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan that is currently taking place.

In calling attention to the situation in Darfur as part of the Holocaust Remembrance activities, Hillel student organizers were inspired by the words of Holocaust survivor and author, Elie Wiesel: “As a Jew who does not compare any event to the Holocaust, I feel concerned and challenged by the Sudanese tragedy. We must be involved. I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.”

For more information, please contact Hillel at 401-874-2740 or Hillel@uri.hillel.org.