Westover News

Days of Remembrance and Holocaust Remembrance Day

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- This year, the Holocaust Days of Remembrance is being observed through April 15. Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 12. The Holocaust Days of Remembrance are observed each year during the week of Remembrance that runs from the Sunday before Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) through the following Sunday.

This year’s poster honors the story of Anthony Acevedo, a World War II veteran and Holocaust survivor. His actions, like those of so many other survivors, led to this year’s theme, “Learning from the Holocaust: Legacy of Perseverance.”

Acevedo was a 20-year-old medic in the U.S. Army’s 70th Infantry Division when he — along with 350 U.S. soldiers — was captured by the Germans following the Battle of the Bulge, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. While a prisoner of war, Acevedo kept a diary of the soldiers’ experiences. In 2010, Acevedo donated his diary to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum along with personal artifacts. Additionally, he became the first Mexican American to register with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Holocaust survivor list.

In the poster, Acevedo’s Red Cross armband lays across his open journal. The script in the background is a page from the same journal he kept, documenting his experiences as a prisoner of war. The armband is adorned with signatures of fellow prisoners following their liberation by U.S. forces on April 23, 1945. The portrait in the lower right corner is a military photo of Acevedo with an inscription to his significant other, which he sent home prior to his capture.

The United States Congress established the Days of Remembrance as our nation’s annual commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent, living memorial to those victims.

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

In 1980, Congress unanimously passed legislation to establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, which oversees the Museum. The Council, which succeeded the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, was charged with carrying out the following recommendations:

• That a living memorial be established to honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust will be taught in perpetuity.

• That an educational foundation be established to stimulate and support research in the teaching of the Holocaust.

• That a Committee on Conscience be established to collect information on and alert the national conscience regarding reports of actual or potential outbreaks of genocide throughout the world.

• That a national day of remembrance for victims of the Holocaust be established in perpetuity and be held annually.

Taken from: https://www.deomi.org

An observance for Days of Remembrance was held at Westover on April 8. Rabbi James Greene, Assistant Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center, Springfield, was the guest speaker.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Mandley, who is Westover's Violence Prevention Integrator/ Special Emphasis Program Manager. She may be reached at 557-7139 or email: annette.mandley@us.af.mil