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'Remember to never forget': Local Rabbi honors International Holocaust Remembrance Day

As anti-Semitic attacks continues to harm the Jewish community, Central Reform Congregation Rabbi Randy Fleisher hopes people learn from the past.

ST. LOUIS — On Jan. 27, the world observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It marks the anniversary of when Allied troops liberated the death camp at Auschwitz.

More than six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945. Seventy-seven years later, people of the Jewish faith continue to face hate.

A recent survey found one-in-four American Jews have experienced anti-Semitism in the last year.

"There's a great joy in being Jewish, but there's also a great responsibility," Central Reform Congregation Rabbi Randy Fleisher said.

Jewish communities traditionally honor the victims of the Holocaust during Yom HaShoah on April 27-28.

Fleisher explained the observance established by the United Nations on Jan. 27.

"The whole world on this day mourns our losses and tells stories of our survivors and feels compassion for our tragedy and the whole world pledges never to forget," Fleisher said.

One way to do that is by visiting the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, because as the saying goes, 'Those who don't learn history are doomed to repeat it.' 

"The teachers make a point of bringing the students to the museum so they can understand the history and so that they can hear from the survivors themselves what it was like," Fleisher said.

Fleisher believes human understanding has progressed, but as anti-Semitic attacks continue to harm the Jewish community he hopes we learn from the past.

"If there's something our government is doing that is creating a sense about any group of people and making them marginalized and making them oppressed we have to put a stop to that right at the beginning," Fleisher said.

He says the best way to honor the six million Jewish victims is to make sure genocide doesn't happen again.

"The more we hear stories and see faces and connect to people who've lived through horror and terror, I hope the more we resolve to make sure that we create societies and communities where people don't become ostracized.

It can all start with a simple act from home.

"Light a candle and remember to never forget," Fleisher said.

Visit the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum website for more information.