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Holocaust Memorial

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Candles lined the stage and yellow flowers stood in the background. Artwork covered the front of the stage as people walked in and took their seats.

On, Sunday, April 24, a Holocaust memorial was held at The Aspen District Theatre. As the memorial started, Aspen High School Principal Tharyn Mulberry spoke praise of the high school students who were involved in the memorial. He finished with Barbara Sonek poem, “Holocaust,” which detailed the lives lost and warned against repeating it in the future.

Retired AHS English teacher, Andy Popinchalk, shared his story of growing up with a Holocaust survivor neighbor who only talked about the experience one time.  His story illustrated how despite experiencing such horrors, some special people have the ability to see the best in others.  

“The most beneficial part was hearing Andy’s story about how he interacted with someone who had experienced this tragedy and yet was still able to see the beauty in life,” fellow AHS student Jordan Fox said.

Silence hung in the theatre as its audience took in the facts and images of the devastating genocide. Next, Elie Wiesel’s first person account told through his novella “Night” was read, reminding the audience to never forget.

The date of the memorial was significant because April 19 commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising from 1943, when the Warsaw Ghetto rose up to fight the German army.  The uprising ended about a month later.

 Dahlia Vardy, one of the many people who helped make the memorial possible, said, “Between all the ghettos, this is the day they stood together and went to fight against the German army. Actually the real day was the day of Passover, but because we can’t celebrate together we do it about a week later,”

Olivia Oksenhorn, Zoe Cramer, and Carson Friedland read excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary and as the memorial ended, the band played John Lennon’s “Imagine” as the audience sang along; the evening was a powerful reminder of what can happen when we let ourselves be divided.

“The goal of the service was to make sure that this horrible genocide wouldn’t be forgotten, especially by the younger generation, and I think they did a good job of impacting people who didn’t fully understand the tragedy,” Fox said.

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