|The annual Holocaust Days of Remembrance ceremony is likely to take place once again in the Capitol Rotunda, after the House yesterday passed a resolution approving the location.|
House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who sponsored the bill, emphasized the need for the May 5 ceremony to take place in the “very sacred center of the Capitol” because of “the significance of this particular location and its significance and importance in this building.”
Patrick G. Ryan
|Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio): “We honor the memory of those who perished.”|
The Senate is also expected to pass the legislation.
The ceremony is part of a weeklong tribute to Holocaust survivors. The theme this year will be “From Liberation to the Pursuit of Justice,” in memory of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the subsequent prosecution of war criminals under international law during the Nuremberg trials.
On Jan. 27, Vice President Cheney joined world leaders in Poland to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Martin Goldman, director of survivor affairs for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, said the impact of the ceremony on the Holocaust survivors is tremendous.
“Survivors come from all over the country,” he said. “It is moving and touching when they go to [the event] and tears are in [their] eyes.”
Goldman said that survivors are touched that the memorial is in the Rotunda of the nation’s Capitol.
“The U.S. took in immigrants” who were Holocaust survivors, he said. “It allowed them to build new lives and families.”
Ney said, “In remembering those who took a determined stand against Nazism, we honor the memory of those who perished, and of course we are reminded that individuals do have the power, and the choice, to make a difference in the fight against oppression and murderous hatred.”
Over the past five years, speakers at the ceremony have included President Bush, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. This year’s keynote speaker has yet to be determined, said Andrew Hollinger, director of media relations for the Holocaust museum.
Each year, approximately 800 people, including survivors, members of Congress and dignitaries, attend the ceremonies, Hollinger said. In addition to a military processional and remarks from members of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and other speakers, there will be a candle-lighting ceremony and the singing of hymns.
At the conclusion of her speech last year, Ginsburg said that while the tragedy of the Holocaust is in the past it is important to realize that prejudice and injustice are still very much in the present.
“May the memory of those who perished remain vibrant to all who dwell in this fair land, people of every color and creed,” she said. “May that memory strengthen our resolve to aid those at home and abroad who suffer from injustice born of ignorance and intolerance, to combat crimes that stem from racism and prejudice, and to remain ever engaged in the quest for democracy and respect for the human dignity of all the world’s people.”