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Holocaust remembered in Pa.

April 18, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Inside Fred Dromeshauser's memorial service program, scrawled by the uncertain hand of a child, was the name of Saul Tugendreich.

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His wife Connie's program contained a slip of paper with the name of Reha Tumbowsky.

Tugendreich and Tumbowsky were two of the 12 million people who perished in concentration camps during the Holocaust that ended with the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

Sunday at Congregation Sons of Israel their names and those of other victims of the Holocaust were remembered in an interfaith service attended by about 200 people.

"It was a shame what happened. ... I know too many people have said it didn't happen," said Fred Dromeshauser, a member of the Falling Spring Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg.

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"One thing we can do is honor the people that fell in this most horrible piece of history," he said.

For 22 years Jews and Christians in Chambersburg have been observing Yom H'hashoah, the Day of Remembering. It falls between Passover, commemorating the Jews' flight from Egypt, and Israel's independence on May 14.

Student Rabbi Danielle Leshaw also noted this is the time of year when the full enormity of the Holocaust was revealed to the world. In the early spring of 1945 Allied forces liberated Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau and other concentration camps.

Of the 12 million victims of the Nazis, about half were Jews. Poles, Russians, Christians, Gypsies, homosexuals and other groups were also targets of Nazi extermination.

Leshaw recalled reading the diary of Anne Frank as a child and imagining her family having to hide in an attic. In those imaginings, "I determined that the Nazis wouldn't be smart or cunning enough to find us in our hiding places."

"We are confronted by our own safe and comfortable circumstances," she said. After the sermon Leshaw said Americans, not just Jews, "feel the need to imagine ourselves in the Holocaust."

Twelve children - Jews, Protestants and Catholics - lit a dozen candles in remembrance of those who died. Dr. Roy Himelfarb read the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead normally read by a relative on the anniversary of a loved one's death.

"There are too many Jews who have no one to say it for them," said Lynne Newman, a member of the Sons of Israel Congregation.

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