In a room created to carry out justice, dozens remembered a time when the miscarriage of justice led to millions of deaths.
The St. Joseph County Courthouse was the background for a ceremony to honor those who perished and celebrate those that survived the Holocaust. Person after person took to the podium to read the names and ages of victims – putting identities to statistics.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg also read from the long list of names and gave a proclamation to mark the day of remembrance.
“All of us have the responsibility to bare the memory of what happened in the Holocaust and use that in a way of guarding against the hatred that is always ready to show its ugly head,” Buttigieg said.
The stories of survival stood out among the names of the deceased. Chris Nicola shared the tale of one family that made it through the Holocaust by hiding in a cave for more than 500 days.
Through extensive interviews with family members, Nicola was able to put together the story of how the group made it through nearly two years living in such difficult conditions.
“There were times when I was hearing what they were describing where I had to keep eye contact and mentally put myself thousands of miles away in order not to break down in tears,” Nicola said. “To hear what it was like for someone that was four years old and come out of a cave after being underground for almost two years and hide her eyes from the sun and ask her parents to blow out the candle.”