NORFOLK (NNS) -- Service members and civilian teammates attached to Military Sealift Command gathered for a special observance, "Holocaust Days of Remembrance 2017," onboard Naval Station Norfolk, April 25.
The event, hosted by MSC's Special Emphasis Program, was held to honor the memory of Jewish victims and survivors of Nazi Germany's genocide during World War II.
"Hatred of Jews, known as anti-Semitism, has plagued the world for more than 2,000 years," said Vivian Margulies who represents the Holocaust Commission of the Holocaust Commission of the Jewish Federation of Tidewater. "The Holocaust is the world's most extreme example of this hatred."
"In 1933 the Jewish population in Europe stood at over 9 million people," according to Margulies. "By 1945, only twelve years later, the Nazis and their collaborators had murdered 6 million Jews; nearly 2 out of every 3 Jews in Europe."
The Holocaust Commission produces documentary films of the stories of Holocaust survivors and shares them with audiences to keep the lessons of the Holocaust alive.
"The survivors of the Holocaust can teach us a great deal for they experienced the horrors genocide themselves and were eyewitnesses to a terrifying period of history," said Margulies. "While each survivor's story is different, they all share common threads: personal struggle, courage tenacity, luck and eventually survival."
"Each of the survivor's stories has another common bond," added Margulies. "They all begin with a jolt from normalcy, with the sudden upheaval of everyday life."
"Often is the face of immediate danger, there was very little time to pack so all that could be taken was what could be carried," said Margulies. "Imagine not even having a photograph to remember what your family looked like. This is the reality of many Holocaust survivors."
The MSC teammates in attendance heard the Holocaust survivor story of Hanns Loewenback, whose father was one of the Jews who forcibly taken from their homes by the Nazis in 1934 and imprisoned in a concentration camp.
"My troubles in Germany started while I was in school," According to Loewenback. "A history teacher at my school told the class that Germany's defeat in World War I was the fault of the Jews. As a result, I was beaten up by 10 boys for three days without interruption."
"All of the students did not agree what was happening to me but they did not help me," according to Loewenback. "Evil does not need your help; only your indifference."
Lowenback and his family eventually escaped from Germany and settled in China with other Jewish refugees.
"Our goal is not only to educate people about the Holocaust but to encourage everyone to think about the consequences hatred, prejudice and indifference as they can reside deeply in people's hearts and minds and are perhaps the greatest threat to our civilization," said Margulies.
'Days of Remembrance' was established by the U.S. Congress to memorialize the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Military Sealift Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/MSC/.