Students observe Holocaust Remembrance Day

Dana Miller

Hillel at Kent State and the brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity joined together on Wednesday night outside of the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (M.A.C. Center) to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom HaShoah.

First, The Rock by Hilltop Drive was painted with the words “Yom HaShoah” and “#never forget.” Students then moved to outside of the M.A.C. Center to recognize the names of those lost during the Holocaust. 

“I’m here today to commemorate all of the Jews and non-Jews and the six million that have perished in the Holocaust,” said Alec Stern, senior criminal justice major and member of Alpha Epsilon Pi and Hillel. “Most of us will be camping out for 24 hours, (and) we will be reading (the) names (of those who were lost during the Holocaust.)”

Terry Hugo, a brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi and senior business management, said even if someone isn’t Jewish, they can still participate in the observance. 

“I’m not Jewish (and) I come up every year and read (names) at least three times,” Hugo said. “I think it’s cool to make the students realize that we are welcoming and want everybody to come up and take part in this because we can’t do it ourselves.”

Hugo also said everybody on campus is supportive of the observance.

“We are on a very diverse campus,” Hugo said. “A lot of people are willing to be inclusive and involved with it, rather than shying it away. I’ve seen other campuses that do this event and they don’t have as much success with it because (of) the fact that a lot of people have a little bit of hate.” 

Sarah Cahn, a senior fashion merchandising major and member of Hillel, said even though the world may have moved past the Holocaust, everyone should still be aware of it.

“It was a huge world event, I think if we don’t do things like this, it can easily be glossed over,” Cahn said. “Even if five people stop throughout the day, and just say ‘what is this’ and they learn a little bit, I think that’s why it’s really important.” 

Stern said he is mainly participating in order to give support and educate other students with correct information.

“There (are) still people who don’t believe it (the Holocaust) existed, and we are losing our generation where there are actual Holocaust survivors,” Stern said. “All we have is video testimony and books, but we won’t have the physical thing.”

Michael Pollak, a senior criminal justice major and member of Hillel, has organized the observance on campus for the past four years.

“I believe this reaches not just me,” Pollak said. “Not just anyone that participates, not just the Kent campus, but everyone in the world needs to know about this day and remember why we honor it, and everyone who perished in the Holocaust.”

The remembrance wil last until 7 p.m. on Thursday night.

Dana Miller is an assigning editor for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected].