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Chambersburg service recalls Holocaust, aims to prevent recurrence

May 05, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Amelio Russello said the importance of Chambersburg's annual Holocaust Memorial Service is to make one clear point - "never again."

"Enough has been done to these good people," Russello said.

He and his wife, Maria, decided to attend Sunday afternoon's service after reading about it in a bulletin at their church. The Russellos joined about 75 other people in the Congregation Sons of Israel Synagogue to listen to readings, light candles and sing hymns more than 60 years after the end of the Holocaust.

"We are one of the few communities to have a service like this annually. The purpose of this memorial service is to not only remember this ugly event in history, but to make sure it cannot happen again," said the Rev. Paul L. Yeun, president of the United Churches of the Chambersburg Area.

Approximately 6 million people died in the genocide. Some of their stories were told through diary excerpts read during the 31st annual service in Chambersburg.

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"We always change around the readings and songs," said Rabbi Sharon Ballan, who noted the service shows solidarity among various religions in Chambersburg.

Boy Scout Troop 127 presented a brass ensemble comprised of fathers and sons for the event.

"I think the most important thing is to remember what happened. We don't want to forget what happened or else history is doomed to repeat," Ballan said.

The Russellos' children recently went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

"They couldn't believe what they saw," Maria Russello said.

Gene Sordillo, of Hanover, Pa., has visited Anne Frank House museum in Germany and described it as very sad.

Remembering the Holocaust is important, he said, "obviously so it doesn't happen a second time."

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