Holocaust remembrance event highlights need to speak out against injustice

On Sunday afternoon in the basement of the historic Southold Presbyterian Church, a group of people gathered to remember the millions of victims of the Holocaust.

The event was billed as “A Ritual for Holocaust Remembrance — Light from the Darkness,” and its goal, the organizers said, was to “help us to fulfill our responsibility to remember, to tell the story and to act.”

Approximately 25 people attended the event, which was sponsored by the Southold Anti-Bias Task Force, North Fork Reform Synagogue and Southold Presbyterian Church.

In welcoming everyone to the event, Rabbi Barbara Sheryll of North Fork Reform Synagogue, said, “Today, we commemorate the Shoah,” the Hebrew word for “catastrophe,” often used to refer to the Holocaust. “We also commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April 1943.”

She spoke about the Jews, young and old, trapped by the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto, who fought back. “Kids in their 20s and the remaining residents of the ghetto fought back,” she said. “It took the Nazis a month to quell it and liquidate the ghetto.

“The uprising was a historic act, a symbol of heroism, bravery and resilience, teaching us today the importance of standing up and speaking out,” she added.

The theme of speaking out against injustice was a key element of the event, which was set up as a reenactment of a Seder, with different items on each table in the church basement including wine, potato skins dipped in salt water “for the tears we shed in times of starvation;” and bread, “in celebration of community.”

“Light from the darkness is an opportunity to move forward,” Ms. Sheryll said. “Let us learn from those who resisted and helped others find the courage to take action.”

Before showing short videos on different aspects of the Holocaust, she added, “Let us revolve, if the moment comes, that we will stand up and speak out.”