U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Natick, MA 01760-5012
Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
Date: April 9, 2001
Holocaust Remembrance Program
NATICK, Mass. -- The Holocaust Remembrance Committee at the Soldier Systems Center has chosen "Remembering the Past for the Sake of the Future" for its 2001 theme. Stephan Ross, a survivor of 10 Nazi death camps from 1940-1945 before being liberated by the U.S. Army, will speak in Hunter Auditorium April 12 at 10 a.m. about his story of survival. Everyone is invited.
Holocaust commemoration activities are sponsored annually by governors, mayors, and other civic and religious leaders in communities across the country. The Secretary of Defense encourages the military branches to conduct appropriate observances. It was America's military forces that witnessed atrocities of the Holocaust when they liberated concentration camps across Europe.
We honor those survivors by listening to their eyewitness testimony and drawing inspiration from their courage and will to survive. While we reflect on the horror of the Holocaust, we need to relate its meaning to our current society and to future generations.
Genocide was not just an anomaly of World War II but has been attempted throughout the 20th century. The attempted "ethnic cleansing" that took place in the Balkans and the Armenian genocide are but a few examples. Although the Holocaust took place more than a half century ago, the lessons of remembrance are aimed at preventing others from suffering a similar fate.
The acts of remembrance can take many forms. Various Holocaust memorial sites have been constructed around the world. The most recent is the New England Holocaust Memorial across from Boston City Hall, a site envisioned and established by Ross.
The monument is designed with six luminous glass towers representing chimneys that bear the name of six major Nazi death camps and have numbers etched in the glass to symbolize victims who died in those camps.
Teaching museums around the country and the world are dedicated to enlightening future generations and preventing future tragedies. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., for example, was chartered as a national institution for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles is an international human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach, and social action. It deals with other issues such as the prosecution of Nazi war criminals and neo-Nazi and extremist groups. In 1994, after filming Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg established Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation to chronicle the firsthand accounts of survivors, liberators, rescuers and other eyewitnesses of the Holocaust. A total of 50,000 unedited testimonies were recorded in the largest undertaking of its kind. The multimedia archive will be used as an educational and research tool.
Many institutions of higher learning have established fellowships and chairs in their academic departments for the study and teaching of the Holocaust, requiring multidisciplinary knowledge of sociology, psychology, history and theology. Concerned religious leaders of all persuasions remind their followers of the events of the Holocaust so that they do not become complacent.
Despite all efforts to remember the past, there are those that attempt to disprove history and revise the facts under the guise of scholarship. Revisionists and deniers argue that there is no evidence coming close to proving the Holocaust. The only antidote to this intellectual deception is remembrance and knowledge of the historical record.
Natick is part of the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM). For more information about SBCCOM or the Soldier Systems Center (Natick), please visit our website at http://www.sbccom.army.mil.