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Holocaust recalled in Pa. service

April 30, 2001

Holocaust recalled in Pa. service



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - People of all faiths remembered the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust at an annual memorial service Sunday.

Catholic educator Carl Tori encouraged the more than 100 people in attendance from several area churches and the Congregation Sons of Israel to keep hatred and discrimination out of their lives and serve as models for younger generations.

Sunday's service at Corpus Christ Roman Catholic Church was the 24th annual remembrance in Chambersburg.

Tori said he first traveled to Israel in 1980 and photos of Nazi death camps touched him so deeply that studying the Holocaust became a passion.

"I was so caught up in that experience it truly changed my life forever," he said.

Tori said his next trip to Israel was not until 1995, and on that trip with other educators he visited three death camps in Poland.

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Tori talked of the old canisters he saw at Auschwicz that once contained the pesticides used to kill hundreds at a time. He described in detail the piles of thousands of decaying shoes that once belonged to the Jewish prisoners at another camp.

"At this point the Holocaust became etched in my heart and the fiber of my being," he said. "I vowed to myself my son and his generation would grow up in a world filled with care, compassion and understanding."

Tori said that as a Catholic growing up in Philadelphia, he had no formal schooling on the Holocaust before college, when he sought out books on the subject on his own.

And while his interest in the Holocaust may seem unlikely on the surface, Tori reminded everyone Sunday that the Catholic faith is directly rooted in Judaism.

"In some way, I think we are all a little bit Jewish," he said.

After his remarks, 12 people from the churches and synagogue involved in the service lit candles in remembrance of the Holocaust victims.

The Rev. Jeffrey L. Roth, co-pastor of St. John's United Church of Christ, said the point of the annual service is "to remember the human price suffered during World War II. We remember so such a holocaust will never again occur."

Tori is the chair of the Religious Studies Department at Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia and co-chair of the Pennsylvania State Holocaust Education Task Force.

He attended the Vladka Meed Summer Seminar on Holocaust and Jewish Resistance held in Poland and Israel in 1995, and the Yad Vashem International School of Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem in 1997.

"What really makes this man tick is his heart and his commitment to a better future between Jews and Christians and among all," said the Rev.William H. Harter, minister of Falling Spring Presbyterian Church.

The service was sponsored by the Chambersburg Area United Churches, the Evangelical Fellowship of Cumberland Valley, the Chambersburg Ministerial Alliance and the Chambersburg Ministerium.

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