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Jews, Christians in Texas March to Remember Holocaust, Fight Anti-Semitism

04-29-2022
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Seventy marches in 15 nations are taking place this year to honor the memory of the Holocaust and speak out against anti-Semitism.

One of those took place in Texas recently, where more than 120 Jews and Christians gathered at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas for the March of Remembrance.

“Lithuania has the most dubious statistic of being the country in Europe that has killed more Jews as percentage to their population than any country in Europe. So, 96% or so are killed. And you're looking at the 4% [that] are here,” Holocaust survivor Rosian Zerner told participants.

Rosian shared how when she was six, Nazis took her family to a Lithuanian ghetto, where her parents engineered her escape.

“That's just the first of my many, many miracles that I survived. [I] must live my life in gratitude now because of that. The other miracle is that my parents survived, and this was kind of unheard of in Lithuania to have an intact family,” Rosian said.

“The story is that I had two sons, my two sons had two children each and my brother had two children, and my mother lived to 101, and my father lived to 96 and Hitler lost,” she said.

German theologianJobst Bitner began the March of Remembrance, also known as March of Life, as a German-Christian response to the Holocaust. It’s now a worldwide movement.

Renata Szysner-Hurd’s father and grandmother are considered Righteous Among the Nations.  Living in Poland, where helping Jews was punishable by death, they hid nine Jews for more than two years. And their home was right next to the German airport, filled with German soldiers who visited them frequently.

“In 1939, September 13th, it was a Rosh Hashanah, and all the Jewish people came to pray in a center. And at that time, the Germans surrounded everybody in the synagogue and pretty much burned them alive,” Renata related.

“My dad heard the rumors [and he was saying], ‘This cannot be. That's not possible.’ So, he walked three and a half kilometers to town to find out if that's just the rumors,” Szysner-Hurd explained. 

“But when he got to the city, indeed, he just saw the synagogue and the smell of, burning bodies. And on that day, he made a promise that if any of the Jewish people will ever need help, he will help them,” she said. “He was 17.”

She says it’s up to parents to combat anti-Semitism.

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“Raise those kids color blind and not looking for the differences. I always say, ‘don't look for the differences. Look how much we have in common. Don't promote hate,’” she said.

The March has a three-fold goal: remember the Holocaust victims; stand against anti-Semitism and hate; and promote reconciliation with the Jewish community.

Born in Germany, both of Claudia Kiesinger‘s grandfathers were Nazis. Now, she’s a March of Remembrance national director,

“I know that it was my family who was participating in the atrocities that happened –either as bystanders, but they knew things I know from my grandfather, he had pictures and I saw,” Claudia shared.

“I cannot condemn them, but I live now and I have to choose my path and I have realized I have a responsibility to speak the truth and to stand up against silence,” she said.

And as a Christian, Claudia now advocates against anti-Semitism.

“If you read your Bible, it's all over the place, Jesus was Jewish. And so, to honor God's people is such an important part. I want to love what God loves and God loves His people. And this is why I stand up and raise my voice and want to show also the Jewish people that I'm standing next to them,” she said.

Campus participants were given a stone, with the name of a university student or someone that age who died in the Holocaust. They were asked to remember the person as they marched to show they are not forgotten.

Andreas Bremer, at the Honorary Consul in Dallas for Germany, said the key to stopping the spread of anti-Semitism is reaching the next generation.

“Since the end of World War II, Germany has undertaken particular efforts to remember the events of the Holocaust and to try to learn from those. Education in German schools focuses today for a full year on the Third Reich – the event, how it could happen and what political systems could lead to such a humiliating system for mankind,” Bremer said.

“I think an important part to combat anti-Semitism would be education overcoming prejudice, and to allow young people to come together and enjoy working together, appreciating the differences of each race, of each nationality and seeing that everybody is a human,” he said.

“Never again, means that we never should allow any political leader, any leader in our economies or societies [to] lead us astray from the common set of human values,” Bremer added.

Dr. Brad H. Young is professor of Biblical Studies with an emphasis on Judeo-Christian Studies at Oral Roberts University.  He wants Christians to see anti-Semitism in light of the scriptures.

“The teachings of Jesus propel me because Jesus taught his followers, ‘Seek first, the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness.’ It's the right thing to do to stand for life. It's the right thing to do to stand for justice. Christian anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem. It's a Christian problem,” Young said.

Young says he wants Christians to see the deep roots of this hatred.

“That is the spirit of the antichrist against God's people. If the promises of God to Israel are not kept faithfully — and they are — then none of God's promises are keeping faithfully,” he said.

Young says Christians today are not the same as in 1935. Many are connected to Israel and have relationships with Jewish people. And yet he says, many realize the persecution could happen again.

“There is a perfect storm, which is forming. That seems like it creates the opportunity for this type of hatred and violence,” he said. But an event like March “brings healing and hope and you see that they feel like they're not alone. They have friends that support them.”

All participants agreed, its critical to speak out against anti-Semitism so coming generations will understand the importance of standing with the Jewish people. Then the words “never again” have a chance to become reality.

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