Speaker discusses 'heeding the warning signs'
CAMP HUMPHREYS -- This is the Holocaust. There is no breath of fresh air when speaking or writing about this subject. There's no "happy ending," no Cinderella, and this is no fairy tale. This subject may be a little on the heavy side, but the truth is, it is on the heavy side. And, it is important that we do not forget.
"Seventy-five years ago, momentous changes were occurring in Central Europe," said Sgt. 1st Class Loyd Smith, assigned to the 532nd Military Intellignce Battalion, during the opening of the 2013 Holocaust Remembrance Day Observance, April 10, in the Post Theater. "Few understood the historic significance of the times and fewer still saw these events as precursors to what would become one of humanity's darkest hours - the Holocaust."
This year's theme is, "Never Again: Heeding the Warning Signs." This solemn program of remembrance for those who fought, died, and lived through the Holocaust was hosted by 532nd MI and U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys.
Following the South Korean and U.S. national anthems, an invocation was given by Chap. (Capt.) Moshe Lans, chaplain for the 41st Signal Battalion, a rabbi and the spouse of the guest speaker. A candle lighting ceremony, featuring nine-year-old Jordyn Strossner, followed, reminding those in attendance how many children had died during the Holocaust.
"We light our candles by passing the light of memory and hope from one to another," Smith said. "Let us honor those whose lights were put out, whose dreams, hopes and lives were snuffed out before they even lived."
Guest speaker, Laurie Lans, wasted little time in capturing the audience's attention when she said, "There's no lightness to this speech… there's no fun… there's no sense of humor."
Lans, who has studied the Holocaust for many years, went on to discuss the warning signs that came prior to the death chambers and the crematories and the mass graves. She discussed the warning signs and signals for help that came before the mass executions, the humiliation of men, women, and children being stripped naked before each other and then systematically murdered by gun shots or poisonous gasses, or even burned alive.
As she spoke, there was silence in the room, as the audience intensely listened to the events that led up to what is now known as the Holocaust.
"There are lessons learned," she said. "We are not looking to place blame, because we know who is to blame. We should be keenly aware to heed (any) warning signs of hatred, segregation, discrimination, and dehumanization."
In conclusion, she said, "If you could leave here knowing… learning… remembering one thing, understand that the warning signs should always be taken seriously. Because, if we don't, no one in this room can claim, 'they didn't know.'"