N.J. -- A ceremony for the rededication of the Mercer County Holocaust/Genocide
Resource Center was held Jan. 27 outside the center's new home on
the second floor of the Mercer County Community College Library
Building. The move followed a major college renovation project.
60 people gathered for the somber, yet celebratory event, which
was held on Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the 65th anniversary
of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps,
the largest in Germany. Noted Dr. Paul Winkler, executive director
of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, the center's
highly visible location and large glass windows will help to further
its message. "Even when it's closed, people will know what
is here - the evidence of man's inhumanity to man," he said.
"This center provides the resources and educational tools to
gird against intolerance."
"All of this work honors victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
One of our goals is that every student should meet a survivor."
opened with music by Dr. Tamara R. Freeman, who played melodies
from the Holocaust's Jewish ghettos on a viola once owned by a Jewish
musician in Germany. Also participating was Rabbi Adam Feldman of
the Princeton Jewish Center, who brought a historic Torah from his
temple to the ceremony, reuniting it with one on permanent loan
at the center. Both Torahs originated in Susice, a small Czechoslovakian
In her remarks, MCCC President, Dr. Patricia Donohue, emphasized
the relevance of the Holocaust's lessons today in places like Rwanda
and Darfur. She noted the importance of "learning about the
errors of our ways collectively and to build upon that knowledge
to create a better world." The center, she noted, plays a valuable
role in teaching young people about the value of human life.
Dr. Donohue invited the assembled guests to return often. "This
is your home in Mercer County. You are always welcome. Celebrate
the fact of this center and keep the memory alive." She also
acknowledged the support of Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes
and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
"Survivors speak so you should know," said Judith Sherman,
who shared her experience as a 14-year-old girl in the Ravensbruck
camp. Despite knowing that her mother had been killed, Sherman pretended
she was alive. "I needed to believe," Sherman said. While
writing, reading, and prayer were verboten in the camp, Sherman
kept a damning mental record. "It was a desperate motivator.
We must survive; the tale must be told."
The ceremony concluded with a story by another survivor, Cantor
David Wisnia. Imprisoned in Auschwitz for three years, he eventually
escaped the Nazis during a death march and joined up with the U.S.
infantry, where he fought as machine gunner until the end of the
war, eventually emigrating to America. Accompanied by Dr. Freeman,
Wisnia performed the "Partisan's Song" in English and
Polish. "Never say this in the final road for you," he